Lord's Day Liturgy

Appearances vs. Actuals

Things are not always what they appear to be at first.

Jesus told a parable about obedience in Matthew 21:28-32. A man had two sons, he told them both to go work in the vineyard. The first son said no at first, but then went and did it. The second son said yes at first, but then blew it off. The chief priests and the elders answered correctly that it was the first son who did the father’s will.

Jesus applied it to the talkers, the ones who appeared and proclaimed their obedience, but who weren’t actually obeying. They seemed to be in the right, to themselves and to others. But it was the unexpected—tax collectors and prostitutes—who actually believed, and obeyed.

This has application for a variety of Appearances vs. Actuals, and I’d urge you to apply it to our submission to authorities. This is any lawful authority, especially in civil, church, or home spheres.

There are two ways to be under authority: in pretense or in truth. It’s possible to be submissive to authority and have others question it or accuse you of arrogance/defiance, it’s also possible to not be under authority and yet beyond the group’s suspicion. Subversive dissent is still insubordination no matter how much one proclaims his loyalty. Passionate arguments for intricate systems of hierarchy and procedures does not a submissive man make.

So the question is: are you actually obeying who/what you’re supposed to, all the way? Or are you holding back, and hiding behind reams of policy?