A friend of mine is currently taking a cake class, which I always thought was a term for a class which is really easy but apparently is a class in cake making and decorating, which doesn’t sound so easy!
The picture to the side is an example of the wonderful cakes she is learning to make. I haven’t tried one yet but if looks are anything to go by, that’s going to be one delicious cake!
…. which got me thinking.
Have you ever had a store bought cake which looked absolutely fantastic but then, when you bit into it you discovered it tasted like cardboard – or worse?
On the other hand, have you ever had a home-made cake which looked a little sloppy but you ate it anyway to be polite and it turned out to be one of the most delicious things you have ever eaten?
I have! Shop bought cakes are almost always a total disappointment (there are a few good ones out there but not many) while home-made cakes are very often delicious (except the ones which aren’t – yeah, I know you’re thinking of someone whose cakes are just awful!).
I’ve learned from this that it is not the outward appearance that counts, it’s what’s inside that really matters.
You can have the prettiest looking cake and discover that under the pretty exterior it’s just a pile of recycled rubber. Alternatively you could find the ugliest looking cake and find that it’s a melt-in-the-mouth gift from heaven!
Yet our attitude toward cakes gives away our attitude toward people.
We may pretend like we don’t look at the way someone is dressed or the way they do their hair or how cleanshaven they are but in truth we all make judgements based on outward appearance and the more they look like our stereotype of what a ‘good’ person should look like, the more value we place on them.
This is ridiculous. People are like cakes (and I don’t just mean full of fat).
What is important is what’s on the inside, not what they look like.
I’m being reminded of this as we start meeting homeless people in our community. Homeless people don’t have access to all of the modern conveniences such as washers and dryers and hair straighteners and showers and electric razors that people with homes have, so they look different. That doesn’t change who they are as people, it doesn’t make them any less worthy of being our friends and it especially doesn’t make them any less in need of hearing the gospel.
I was reading today in Mark 7 about this very subject:
14Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ ”
17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” Mark 7:14-19
OK, so maybe Jesus is not talking about EXACTLY the same thing but it’s the same principle. The pharisees believed that cleanliness was a matter of following rules – eating the right stuff, washing the right way and doing the right things but Jesus told them not to be so ridiculous. A person doesn’t become clean by washing his hands at the right time or not eating certain foods, those things make no difference because they are either external or they just go through the body and come out the other end.
Jesus was telling them that what is important is what’s in your heart, what’s on the inside is what counts because it is from there that cleanliness comes. He was saying don’t look at how the cake is decorated, look at what it tastes like inside.
Cake decoration is great. Dressing nice and taking regular showers is great too – what’s more important though is what is underneath all of the decoration.
What’s underneath your decoration? and who did you judge today based purely on the way they look?