My son and I were talking on the way to school last week. We’d been playing at our children’s museum a few days earlier and they have a pretend grocery store with play money.at the registers. As we were headed to school, Reed said, “Mom, wouldn’t it be cool if you could make lots of play money and use it in real stores and no one would know!?!” And that is how he learned about counterfeiting. We talked about how people do that but it’s against the law. That its a form of lying and cheating. Then Reed asked a great question. “How do people tell the real money from the fake money?” I explained that the U.S. Treasury has created multiple security measures and we watched this quick video to identify them..
Then, because I spotted a spiritual application and we are told to teach our children God’s truth as we walk, sit, and head to school (my paraphrase), we talked some more. We discussed how light plays a large part in identifying the authentic money. Real money has ink that switches colors as you move it back and forth. Real money has a watermark that is seen clearly when held up to the light. it doesn’t matter if the bill is brand new or wrinkled and used. It will still meet the requirements. Just as light is necessary to identify real money, we need light too.
We need the Light to shine on us. When we hold up our lives against the perfection of Jesus we can tell if our relationship with God is authentic. Some people can say they are a Christian but as James 2:17 tell us, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” We need more than simply saying that we know Jesus. We need to stand the test when held up to the Light. The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control) are one measure we use. If we say we love Jesus but don’t love others well, are not kind to classmates, or talk throughout class with no self-control, where is the proof to others that we do, in fact, love Jesus? We will never be perfect, but when our relationship with Christ is authentic and real, we will reflect the ways of God and withstand the test.
Hospitality is a great measure of authenticity. Do we love others well? Are we willing to sacrifice our comfort and schedule to meet the needs of others? Is our home a place of peace for those who need it? Are our words gentle and controlled so that they may “minister grace to the hearers?” (Ephesians 4:29) Jesus was the epitome of hospitality during his time on Earth. He loved others better than we ever can. He didn’t let his fatigue & friends overshadow the needs of the people around him (although he had healthy boundaries). So if hospitality is a measure of how authentic our relationship with Jesus is, would you pass the test? When my life, and yours, is held up to the Light, do we reflect the watermark of Jesus in all we do?
As I type this, the beautiful morning sun in streaming in from my living room window. We have an open floor plan so the light streams all the way from the back porch into the kitchen. I could have sworn my floor was clean, but the light is showing me just how many crumbs my kiddos have left since yesterday. That’s what Jesus does for us. I may think I’m doing ok. I love my friends and go to church. But when the perfect light of Christ shines, I recognize my sin and selfishness. I see the missed opportunities to love well on purpose. I notice the times I failed to minister to that fringe friend or love the stranger. The Light points out the ways I don’t love my neighbors as well as I could.
Counterfeit money is destroyed when it’s discovered. You can’t just add something to the counterfeit bills and have it suddenly be real money. Similarly, we have to die to our counterfeit self. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. When I’m fulling living the life God has called me to, when I’m pursuing Jesus fully, my life will pass the test. I may be a wrinkled, worn, pitiful looking piece of money, but when held to the Light, his reflection will still shine.