Today is one day in the year where people dress up, put on a mask and try to look different. I have done this a few times during the year and it usually brings a smile to the people who see me wearing a mask. They clearly know the face they see is not me. My personality doesn’t change really, but people see a bit of a hidden part of me – the part that enjoys a good laugh.
My wife has dressed up as a Newfoundland fisherman for many years in order to entertain people and not just make them smile, but have them burst into laughter. I am convinced that when she dresses this way for her comedy routine, she changes and becomes a different person. The more I think about it, the more I realize that when she dresses up this way, it actually allows the lighter side of her personality to be exposed. She is fun-loving and loves to lift the spirits of people. One of her favourite Bible verses states that a merry heart is good like a medicine. Truth is, she doesn’t need a mask to do that; it really is who she is.
How often do we put on a mask hoping it transforms and makes us more acceptable to others? News Flash! Transformation happens from the inside out, not by changing our exterior appearance with a mask or funny costume.
What is the evidence of a changed life? I grew up attending Sunday School and a song we often sang was about this little man named Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to see Jesus. All the people complained that Jesus was going to the house of a sinner until Zach defended himself by saying that he had changed, and was not the same person. He declared that he would “give half of his possessions to the poor” and for those he had cheated (which was typical of the tax collectors of that day), he would pay them back “four times as much” (see Luke 19:8).
True transformation is evidenced when the heart becomes more generous to others.
Jesus confirmed this by saying, “Salvation has come to this house” – in other words, true change had come.
What I learned about Zacchaeus in Sunday School was that he climbed a tree, but I have since discovered “why” he climbed the tree. It was about true transformation and a changed life. Maybe it’s time we become more like the little man who climbed the tree. Selfishness had shaped him to be a man who was willing to do people wrong financially for his own gain. When change happened to him, he rose to a different level, not by climbing a tree, but by removing the mask of selfishness and greed. He gained a new perspective on money. When you hold your wealth with open hands as he did, you will begin to experience true riches.