The little town of Britt, Iowa has a unique celebration. The town has been hosting the National Hobo Convention the second weekend of every August since 1900. It is the largest gathering of hobos, rail-riders, and tramps who gather to celebrate the traveling worker. Hobos were known to travel around living in outdoor camps looking for work. The first church I pastored happened to be in that town. I remember during one Hobo Day we had an unusual visitor in church that Sunday. He was obviously one of the hobos. His hair was long and stringy. His clothes were old and dirty and I remember him carrying a walking stick as he came into church and sat down in one of our pews. Our people didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for him. They looked at him skeptically wondering if he was going to ask for a handout.
In the book of James we are warned to be careful with judging people based on their outward appearance. We are warned: “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4).
Who are the hobos who enter our assemblies today that we prejudge? Are we displaying the love to our neighbors that Christ commanded us? Perhaps someone with multiple tattoos or piercings comes into church how will we react? What about the handicapped, or the homeless? Do we welcome people of color or illegal immigrants? Do we welcome those who may be living a sinful lifestyle to be among us to hear the Word of God? The next time we are tempted to judge someone who walks into church remember he or she is a soul for whom Christ died.
My wife and I were having fun taking two of our grandkids to a children’s museum. The kids had a great time interacting with the various exhibits. On the top floor we came to a fun house that had various mirrors that distorted your reflection. The kids, their parents and even their grandparents enjoyed watching our bodies become short and squat, and then grow long and lean. We watched as the reflections showed distorted foreheads and earlobes. We even laughed as our fingers dragged on the floor. I am so glad that those mirrors did not give an accurate reflection of what we really looked like.
I know of one mirror that does give us an accurate reflection of who we really are. This mirror does not reflect our physical image but it accurately reflects who we are spiritually. It is the Word of God. James 1:23-25 tells us: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does”. James challenges us to look into the mirror of God’s Word carefully and view the changes that we need to make in our own lives. As we stick out our tongue do we see words that come out of our mouth that need to be kinder and sweeter? As we observe our eyes are there things that we are viewing that we shouldn’t? As we take a look at our complexion are there spots of sin and scabs of hurts that need to be healed? Does our overall spiritual life appear unkempt and sloppy? Perhaps we have just let ourselves go.
The mirror of God’s precious Word shows us what needs to be fixed. It gives us an accurate reflection to areas that need careful attention. One day we will stand before our Lord as a spotless bride (Eph.5:26,27). Let’s look into the mirror of God’s Word to become more beautiful for Christ.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation