A Message from Pastor Craig

Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a few hats. I don’t buy them, I just end up with them. Hats from
United Methodist churches and organizations. Sports teams’ hats because they were giving them away. An occasional gift from a family member – although I’ve more inherited them than unwrapped them.

One of those hats comes from the University of Miami. Because we lived across the street from UM for many years, our sons brought more than one of them home from one event or another. One of them in
particular is pretty cool looking and I fancy myself looking good in it. So I wear it. I wear it when I walk. I wear it when I go to the beach and when I have worn a helmet mountain bike riding and just need to cover up a rat’s nest.

For the last several years, living on the other side of the State, I would wear “The U” hat and thought
nothing of it, nobody said anything to me. Maybe they didn’t say anything because they were all FSU or Gator fans, but still, I got no comments. But coming here, people do say something. “What’d you think of the game yesterday?” they will ask. And I don’t know what they’re talking about. And a second later I go “Oh!” And “Yeah.” And then I have to come clean. I not only didn’t watch the game, I don’t watch the games. I’m really not a fan, I just like the hat. Just last Saturday a guy approached me this way. We were in Naples! And he was visiting from Pittsburg! He was a UM fan from Pennsylvania – you might understand his confusion when I apologized about my ignorance.

Or was it my apathy? I gave an appearance of being a UM fan, but when pressed, I couldn’t back it up. Now, I’m not ready to ditch the hat out of principle (I don’t dislike UM! – I’m just not into college football).  But it did raise a question for me about outward appearances. Do I try to project some image that I really can’t back up in reality? Do I appear to be a good Christian, but when examined, maybe not? Do I do the outward motions of a follower of Jesus, but in my heart I’m just “not that into Him?”

I have another hat. It’s got another “UM” logo – it’s got the logo of the United Methodist Church. It also says something about Disaster Relief. Nobody, not a soul, has asked me about that one, but if they did, I could tell them all kinds of things. I really like that hat too. Maybe I’ll wear it most often now. But the
question remains the same: what consistency is there between my outward appearances and my inner
practices?

This is the life of the Christian – to make our soul reflective of the Savior Who has redeemed it. The outward appearances are secondary to the transformation that Jesus has for our hearts. But the green and orange hat reminded me that there should be a consistency between the two.

Last Sunday in the Traditional service we sang that anthem from the 60’s – And They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love. Well, there is the outward sign of the spiritual grace that has been given us.  What people see needs to be consistent with what is going on in our heads and our hearts. This is a
challenge for us at home, on the road, in the grocery store, with a client – in every aspect of our lives. Let us love others.

The good news is, with God’s help – we can do it!

Choosing a better cap,

Craig

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him; the LORD does not see as man does. For man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7