“Façade” is an interesting word that comes from the French language meaning “a pretense or a front”. Basically when someone or something is a façade, the real thing is being hidden from the human eye. You’re seeing a fake. Sadly so often in our world today, and even in the confines of our churches, we see people all too often fall into this very description. They are pretending to be one thing when they are not. They claim many great things, and definitely play the part, but they are just a façade. The Bible shows us many of examples of these types of people ranging from Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) to the Pharisees found in (Matthew 23). They spent their time trying to convince people of their good works than actually doing good works. What did they all have in common? They sought the praise of men rather than God. They were simply a façade.
In contrast, the Bible also gives us many examples of people that truly let their good works speak for them. They didn’t have to put on a front, but instead worked hard and did what was right. One of those very examples is found in the book of Proverbs. In the last chapter of Proverbs we are introduced to a very special woman. She is often referred to as the virtuous wife, and she was one who was no stranger to servanthood. She cared not only for her own family but so many others that were in need. You see her character and strength throughout each verse and it makes sense how Solomon wraps up her portrayal in the very last verse of the book: “Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:3).
Solomon believed that a woman of her character deserves the fruit of her labor and it is by her works that she will be praised by others. This is very different from what we see in the above examples. The above examples sought only praise where the virtuous woman sought only to serve.
Throughout Matthew 23, Jesus uses very strong terminology when talking to the scribes and Pharisees by calling them hypocrites. They were “actors” who appeared one way but acted a completely different way. They were living a life full of façades. In fact Jesus even says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to me but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:27-28).
What a stark contrast between the description of the Pharisees and the description of the virtuous wife. Which do you relate with? Are you someone who is truly trying to please God, or are you someone who just wants to play the part in order to receive praise from other? I challenge each of you to not be a person who just appear beautiful, but rather a person who strives to do beautiful acts of service. When you are doing the Lord’s work for others, be proud of what God accomplishes through you. Let those works praise you because through them our Lord and Savior will be glorified!
Our ultimate example of this very thing was our Savior Jesus Christ. He was not out to receive the praise of men but rather that of God. Thanks be to God for His act of service to us.