|You never can tell what's on the inside from the outside.|
Some time ago, I needed to rid our office property of several trees--fifteen in all. I quickly found out why large trees are left alone until they fall on something, it is incredibly expensive to have them removed professionally. However, five of the trees were walnut and I just happened to have a friend who owned a lumber mill. He came out and looked at them and quoted me a very nice price, as a matter of fact, the tree closest to the office, because of how large and straight could be worth almost a thousand dollars all by itself! His men came in, dropped the trees, and loaded the trunks onto their trucks. My friend came with the check, much smaller than I expected so I asked him why. He said that the "prize" tree near the office was "blue" and almost worthless. I didn't understand, so I pressed him for information. He explained that if the trunk of a tree, no matter how beautiful on the outside has a blue coloration it means that there is rusted iron in the trunk, maybe from a fence wire or clothes line or nail. Therefore what appeared so promising on the outside turned out to be the least valuable of the five. My friend explained that since he was sure the trunk had iron some place in it, he couldn't run it through his large, expensive saws for fear of ruining a blade, thus its value is greatly diminished.
I suppose that you see quickly that that tree is a lot like us, well, at least a lot like me. We may look great on the outside, we may stand straight, give regularly, teach kids' church (a sure way for celestial extra credit), or do any number of things to make ourselves appear priceless. But the day will come when we will be severed from this life and stand before the Master's lumber mill. Will He find our character "blue," beautiful on the outside but full of "old dead men's bones and all uncleanness?"
Something to ponder anyway.
(see Matthew 23 beginning at verse 13)