Thousands of years ago, merchants and gypsies would travel from one marketplace to another carrying goods that they would sell for a living. The roads in those days, where there were roads, were rough. Long before the Roman road system that revolutionized long-distance travel, it was a difficult journey from one city to the next. Many of these merchants sold pottery. As they would travel from one place to another, because of the rough roads, often the pots would bang against each other. They would crack and break.
Because they didn’t want to lose out on the money they could make from selling these pots, the merchants would take wax, melt it and smooth it into the cracks, and then paint over it so that at first glance you couldn’t even tell that anything was wrong. You would buy the item, thinking you were getting a whole, complete piece of merchandise. Only later did you discover that you had been deceived. The thing about the wax was, it never lasted. You always found out, often too late. But every disguise was revealed sooner or later.
This became such a common problem that merchants who did not do this began to advertise that their goods were sine cera. That literally means “without wax.” From those words, we get our english word, “sincere.” To be sincere, authentic, or true means to be sine cera. Without wax.
As human nature would have it, over the course of time we’ve become really good at doing this in our lives. We don’t want to appear broken, cracked, or less than perfect. So we smooth wax over the rough spots, paint it up all nice, and present ourselves in an unreal way. So from the outside looking in, we tend to think others have a perfect home, perfect family, perfect job, perfect church, perfect ___________…..you fill it in. You know what I mean.
Authenticity is severely lacking in society. But when it moves into the church, that’s when we really have a problem. Many of us feel completely uncomfortable being “real.” We can’t talk about our problems, weaknesses, shortcomings, fears, concerns, or needs. We have to cover those things up so we don’t appear less valuable than we want, because those are the kinds of things we place our value in.
In the Old Testament, God is referred to occasionally as Jehovah Tsidkenu, which means “The Lord is our Righteousness.” Simply put, that means that when you’re a child of God, your value isn’t found in stuff. It’s found in the simple fact that God created you and loves you and values you. He likes you. He thinks you’re great. That’s value. It’s not in stuff.
Ask yourself today, what areas of your life have you applied wax to? Where do you need to get real, authentic, and sincere in life so that through your imperfections, you can share your faith and hope with others? When we project an illusion of perfection, it makes us unreachable and unapproachable to others. It’s time that we get serious about getting sincere.
Ask God to help you find your value and worth in His love and grace and not in human measurements. Let’s lose the wax.
Jimmy, very interesting, familiar, yet read afresh. May I point out though that many sermons preach Not showing our needs, weaknesses, hurts, etc. as Christians. And frankly, most people ignore or go the other way if someone is showing such. I don’t intend to criticize, just stating what I’ve seen and experienced.
That’s very true, Jane. I think there’s a very important difference between not being high-maintenance, consumer Christians who always complain or take and simply being real and human. The idea here is to simply be willing to admit that we are imperfect, to not try to cover up or hide our flaws or faults but to celebrate that through Jesus, we are whole and complete. Great insight! We need to do better to communicate healthy ways to do life together in this way.