The television show, Mystery Diners, pulls on the inner cop in me. A restaurant is losing money or customers. The owner wants to know why. Mystery Diners comes to the rescue with hidden surveillance cameras and undercover helpers. It is their job to see what the boss can’t see.
This covert watch-dog mission unveils stealing, wild parties after hours, scams, and general sloppy behavior. Discoveries are not hearsay or rumor. They are facts. Hidden cameras record hidden realities.
In the end, the guilty are dragged into central station and see recordings from different angles of the restaurant. In short, they are busted. At this point, it gets interesting. Smoke-screens of every variety appear in the inevitable moment when truth exposes a lie.
Sometimes it is with self-righteous anger. “I was doing this to help you!” Right. Hence the stolen cash in the back pocket. Shouted obscenities hope to intimidate, or at least divert attention. A rare person accepts guilt and makes amends. Why so rare? Maybe because the dishonesty started long ago – when they first deceived themselves.
The camera mimics a mirror. In Mystery Diners, the workers don’t know they’re looking into one until the end of the show. The Bible is a mirror. We see ourselves in it. It isn’t meant to condemn or accuse us. It is meant to show us truth. When we receive truth, it becomes to us what it is, the way of freedom.
No one likes to be exposed. Sin wants to stay hidden. The worst thing about sin is that it diverts. It diverts the value of our lives into something that doesn’t matter, or worse, into something that harms us and others.
The Laodicean church in Revelation sent a message to those who appreciated good first impressions. “We have lots of money, great clothes, and abundant resources. We don’t need anything, thank you,” was their mantra. Something was hidden, though. Something God saw and needed them to see.
Ever crashed your knee into the corner of a bed-frame in the middle of the night? Or run into a door on your way to the bathroom? Pain, as a consequence of not seeing, rouses us like nothing else. God told this church what He saw and it wasn’t wealth and self-sufficiency. It was poverty and shame.
Not one to point out a problem and then withhold the cure, the Lord had some advice. He offered what they needed to solve the issue. It wasn’t out of their reach. They could purchase it from Him. It was true riches, gold refined by fire, clothes designed in heaven, and medicine to heal the blindness of unseeing eyes.
This year, I’m going to make some purchases from the living God. After all, He’s the one who recommended it. I might think I’m doing just fine. Life has a way of either lulling us to sleep or distracting us by its uproar. This is neither of the above.
My life isn’t effective without His perspective. I honor the fact that He knows things I don’t know. I need His righteousness to cover my insufficiencies. I need His anointing in exchange for my powerlessness. I need the God kind of wealth, freeing me from the poverty of greed and selfish ambition.
Our lives are valuable. We carry a kind of purchasing power. It can be offered for the wrong reasons for the wrong purposes, or it can be submitted as currency for heavenly business. This commerce between God and I releases His goodness, His love, and His plan on earth. I want to be a part of that. How about you?