After I got up Monday morning, I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. Let me tell you, it wasn't a pretty sight. But besides the usual early morning ugliness, I noticed something about myself. I have a farmer tan.
If you're not familiar with that terminology, let me clue you in. A farmer tan on a man is where the forearms, hands, head, face and neck are a deep golden tan in color, while the area generally covered by t-shirt or other short sleeve shirt is almost shockingly white. The term comes from the tradition that a farmer will work outside with a shirt on at all times. (If you've ever baled hay, you know it's a bad idea to try it shirtless unless you're mighty fond of itchy skin.)
The typical farmer tan isn't noticeable unless the man's shirt is removed. At which time planes will aim toward the brilliant white skin, pilots sure that it must be the searchlight at the local airport. But if the shirt stays on, no one is the wiser.
My farmer tan became very noticeable to me because I was outside watching a baseball tourney most of the weekend under unbearably sunny skies. My t-shirt had a few buttons in front which were undone. The result was a bright red three inch line extending from beneath my throat like a miniature necktie.
"I really need to get a little more sun," I told myself. But with a physique
like mine, I figure I'm being merciful by keeping my shirt on.
The world arounds me sees a man with his spiritual shirt on. Beautifully tanned arms and neck. A real healthy glow.
But God sees me as I am -- a sinner with a spiritual farmer tan. But God sees through all of that outside stuff. He knows what a wreck I am. He can see that I am in the same state as the Apostle Paul -- the chief of all sinners.
Even though the world may not notice my farmer tan -- my imperfections -- I know that God isn't fooled. And I strive not to be fooled either.