Only skin deep

“You’re so pretty. Here is a penny.”  My little piggy bank was full of pennies from people who apparently thought that my outward appearance was reason enough to reward me. I never understood that as a chubby-cheeked preschooler with long auburn hair. 

Fortunately, my mother kept my feet on the ground. “Beauty is only skin deep,” she would remind me when the compliments, and sometimes the pennies, were paid. That outward appearance has long since faded, and whatever is inside is more noticeable, for better or worse. 

A friend recently shared a photo of a very unusual squash, half yellow zucchini and half regular green zucchini. Personally, I have grown and consumed both types and I find very little, if any, difference in flavor. But the yellow ones sure are pretty! I can’t figure out how a squash can come out with both colors. I am impressed. 

Imagine the meal in which this chimera of a squash is consumed. One of the children calls dibs on the yellow squash, maybe the Dad chimes in that he will only eat “normal” color zucchini. But alas, they’re all mixed up in the serving bowl, or soup, or zucchini muffins. 

It’s all the same, after all. Close your eyes and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! 

Our Father would have us all make a difference in this sad, sick world by BEING different, and not just on the outside. 

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NASB).

In the case of this squash, it was home-grown in good soil, not depleted dirt that was commercially farmed for too many decades to provide good nutrients. Inside, it’s a great vegetable without the poisons so often used in major agribusiness. The appearance is only skin deep, truly.

Much of our energy is expended on “blending” in to the world around us, to wear the clothes that are trendy, to enjoy the most popular pursuits in entertainment, and to be liked just because we are so close to everything that everyone else likes. 

That is not our calling. 

We are to be the salt of the earth, making it better; not absorbing the flavors of everything around us (Matthew 5:13).

Kathy’s funny little squash couldn’t seem to decide if it wanted to be different or not. Yes, the yellow zucchinis are attractive and unusual, just as a good Christian life should be. What if we can’t decide to be “a peculiar people” all the time, and half the time we are the same old same old? 

Well, if you’re a zucchini, that’s just weird. If you’re a Christian, trying half-heartedly to do God’s will, you won’t be as effective as you could be.

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