The word hypocrite comes from the Greek word hypokrites meaning “an actor” or “a stage player.” It literally translates as “an interpreter from underneath” which reflects that ancient Greek actors wore masks.
An actor 1) looks the part, 2) speaks the part, 3) may even have gifts for the part but is not the person you want when in a tight spot or difficult situation.
Actors lack the conviction to make the part their life. Their true loyalties align elsewhere. They are not willing to make the sacrifices needed, the time invested, risk failure and loss.
It is a role they play not who they are.
This weekend we heard Jesus call the religious leader types “hypocrites.” The people of Israel were in a tight spot with Rome and needed someone who didn’t simply play the part of a leader but who was actually a leader. Someone whose main concern was not selfish ambition but selfless sacrifice.
And so it is with us now. The country is full of division and fear over an election. How does the church lead in this time? How do we not only talk the talk but walk the walk?
1) Pray – pray for those we agree with as well as those we disagree with. Pray that God will work through the rancor and division to bring about peace based on mutual respect and not a cease fire based on power or manipulation.
2) Vote – I don’t need to say this because I hear from many of you that you have already voted or intend to do so. But I did want to speak to one issue about voting that is troubling. There are voices from within Christian circles saying that you can’t be a Christian if you vote a particular way. Let me say that as long as your vote is made in prayer and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit you can vote Democrat, or Republican, as a Christian.
3) Stop Worrying – I know this is easier said than done and that simply by saying it I’ve created worry! But, for the Christian, our citizenship is twofold. Our first responsibility is as citizens of the Kingdom of God. And we know that the Kingdom of God is not dependent on a vote, or a politician, or a preacher for that matter. The One who was, and is and will always be is our Lord and Savior. And the promises of a coming New Jerusalem is where our hope is found and not in an election. On November 4, guess what? Jesus will still be Lord. The Kingdom of Heaven will still be in-breaking. The promises of God will be no less real. So, let us be anxious for nothing and instead pray (Phil 4:6-7).
The nation is looking for true leadership and not actors. And it just happens that the church is filled with just such leadership through the empowered people of God. I give thanks to God for you.
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October 18, 2020 – Actors – Rev. Todd Nelson | Downtown | First UMC