I read something the other day that got me to thinking. The next time you pick up an ordinary egg, just put it on the mantle piece and look at it. The beauty, the wonder, the mystery of an egg. You can’t preserve it by just leaving it there. It is uniquely shaped and yet it is strong enough to hold a baby chick when it’s ready to come into our world. We watched this process one Easter when I was just a kid. It was a mystery then. We are often so busy looking on the outside of a shell we often forget the wonder and the power of what’s inside. Inside is life – not the shell. The yoke of the egg becomes a baby chick and the white feeds the chick while it’s growing in the shell. If you put it on the mantle and just leave it there, it will spoil. Have you ever smelled a rotten egg?
The purpose of the egg shell is to be broken so that life inside can come out. The shell has no meaning all by itself. It is only a container for the life. You’re not seeing the egg at all. God often hides important things inside surrounding them with attractive attention-drawing outside skins. The rage today is “How do I look?”.
We all have an outside mask or shell that others see – our body, our looks, our voice, our facial movements or body language. Even our personalities are part of the outside skin. The real person is inside- the spirit and soul of the heart. If all we know and ever do is to relate to the shells, the outside of people, the masks they wear, we will never really know them or they us. Like the shell of an egg- it remains a mystery.
Our Lord told many stories or parables to the people in public. His disciples came to him afterward, confused about what they had heard and full of questions. Jesus said, “The secret of the Kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the OUTSIDE, everything is said in parables, so that they may see but not perceive, hear and not understand.” Then he quotes from the prophet, “This peoples heart is waxed gross and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted and I should heal them” (Matthew 13:13-15).
In the past we labeled it a ‘generation gap”. The song we often sing goes like this, “Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder, why it should be thus all the day long; while there are others living about us, never molested though in the wrong”. The apostle Paul says, “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:11-12). John the Revelator said it over and over again, “Let him that has an ear to hear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2; 17).
After reading these few words, you may find yourself looking at people, trying to catch their eyes and seeing if you could use them as window to see inside, past the shell or mask into some special part of their soul. Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
For example, take the case of one who is an optimist. A 90 year old man marries a 21 year old beauty and takes out a 30 year old mortgage on a new house – near a school! This is the kind of person we most likely would enjoy being around. George Bernard Shaw said, “A pessimist is a person who thinks everyone is as nasty and he is and hates them for it.”
Is the glass half empty or half full? Do you have holes in your shoes or are you just getting your feet on the ground? It is all in the matter of seeing the perception – the real person hid inside the shell.
Read the gospels and underline how many times Jesus said, “Be not afraid, it is I, be of good cheer.” Dig deep into your soul and remember the words of Paul, “Be not drunken with wine, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Stop, look and listen! Smile from ear to ear. Put a song in your heart and do a little dance.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of us all?” The shell is just a poor judge of what’s inside!