How can you tell when you meet a REAL scout? As a matter of fact how to you know when you meet a REAL Christian? How do you know when you meet a REAL Christian scout? That is what we want to consider tonight.
The original scout handbook from 1911 has this to say,
“And then the final and chief test of the scout is the doing of a good turn to somebody every day, quietly and without boasting. This is the proof of the scout. It is practical religion, and a boy honors God best when he helps others most. A boy may wear all the scout uniforms made, all the scout badges ever manufactured, know all the woodcraft, campcraft, scoutcraft and other activities of boy scouts, and yet never be a real boy scout. To be a real boy scout means the doing of a good turn every day with the proper motive and if this be done, the boy has a right to be classed with the great scouts that have been of such service to their country.”
It seems as if there is something more than just what you see on the outside.
Let’s take, for example, a watermelon. What makes you say it is a good watermelon? Is it what it looks like on the outside? Or is it what it tastes like on the inside? I know you will agree with me that it is what is on the inside of the watermelon that counts—unless you eat the outside, of course! This is also true of many other things. Sometimes we say, “You can’t judge a book by the cover” which is another way of stating this same idea.
Now, the outside is important but not the most important consideration. I think a real scout has to be “baked” from the inside out and not the other way around. The real scout has to have something happening in his heart not just in his appearance because that can be phony.
I am sure you are familiar with the word “hypocrite” which comes from the times of the Roman Empire. The hypocrite was the actor of the day. He would put on a mask and become someone he was not. He would pretend, for the sake of the spectators, to be someone totally different. His inside did not match his outside. He claimed to be what he was not.
The outside of the scout should be a reflection of his heart not just a costume to make him look good to others. A REAL scout has a heart that moves in step with the scout oath and law.
I believe this scout virtue is derived from the teaching of the Scripture.
Jesus talked about the “pretenders” of his day many times. At one point when Jesus was speaking to them He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:23-28 ESV
Jesus was pointing out their fake-ness to all the people that were gathered there. Although I imagine the many of the people could tell the pretenders…sometimes you can just tell something isn’t right. Jesus was showing us how the outside and the inside need to be in agreement for us to say we are REAL.
So you need to ask yourself the question because only you can really evaluate it. Are you the same on the inside and the outside or are you just pretending? Only you and God fully know the answer to that. Others can observe and guess, but that is really as far as they can go. So will you ponder the question? And will you answer it honestly?
If you really know Christ on the inside, He WILL make a difference on the outside. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi he said, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:3-6 ESV. God will finish what He has started. Isn’t that great!!!!!!
To be a REAL Christian, the real transformation has to start on the inside. The same is true of the scout—it has to start on the inside. No amount of external decorations will make you a real Boy Scout. No amount of “wilderness wisdom” will make you a real Boy Scout. Nothing on the outside will make you a Boy Scout if you are not one on the inside first!
(Thank you to Pastor Ward, our Committee Chair, for authoring and presenting this devotional to our troop!)