Posts Tagged ‘Jesus and the Pharisees’

I wonder how important the cover is to you when choosing a book. If the book is by one of your favourite authors, perhaps you go ahead and buy it anyway, irrespective of the cover. Or perhaps if the title sounds interesting, that’s all you will notice. Or maybe someone you trust has recommended you buy the book – in which case the cover is pretty irrelevant yet again.

Recently, I played a part in creating the cover of my first work of non-fiction entitled Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Now I had certain ideas I felt might work to convey the main concept of the book. I even found possible images on the net that I thought might be suitable. And my publisher listened and took these into account. But there was also quite a bit of ‘to-ing and fro-ing’ involved, as we asked ourselves lots of questions and negotiated our way towards an agreement. Does the cover give a clear sense of the content of the book? Will the image we have chosen appeal to all ages or does it look too old-fashioned? Is it eye-catching enough? Does the main colour of the cover contrast enough with my other books? Is the title in the correct place on the cover? Does it stand out enough? Have we used the best font for this? Should there be an endorsement on the cover as well as a sub-title?

All these decisions – just over the cover! Yet what about the contents? What if the book doesn’t live up to that cover? How many times have you bought a book and started reading, only to find it does not capture your interest and leaves you feeling somewhat disappointed and disgruntled?

You know, in the midst of this whole process of deciding on my latest book cover, it occurred to me to wonder if I go through the same process at times in my own life. I might be somewhere where I am not already known, perhaps speaking in a strange place – so what ‘cover’ will I choose? What image should I present? How relaxed and ‘myself’ can I afford to be in this environment? But even broader than that, what about my life in general? Is there an image I like to present to those around me that does not line up with what’s actually happening in my heart and soul and mind? How authentic is my life really? How authentic is my relationship with God? Does it stack up when that cover is opened and people turn the pages?

It seems to me Jesus never pretended and that he easily saw through the hypocrisy and pretence in others as well. In fact, it seems some of the strongest words he spoke were to the Pharisees when he called them to account for their attempts to appear so holy. In Luke 11:39-40, after a Pharisee had judged him for not washing before a meal, he says:

Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?

It’s no use trying to pretend to God, he was reminding those present. God sees beyond that outward image and right into our hearts. And I’m glad of that. I want what I appear to be on the outside to match what’s on the inside, don’t you? I want people to open that ‘cover’ and not be disappointed or put off God as a result of who I really am and how I live my life each day.

How about you? Is that your desire, too?

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