TONY ELDER: Let's focus more on who we are on the inside

Last week I was paying for some groceries when I noticed the cashier staring at me. Twenty years ago I may have thought otherwise, but being at my present grandfatherly age, I had no illusions that this young lady who had just checked me out might now be "checking me out."I simply assumed that she thought she knew me from somewhere and was trying to decipher her puzzle. However, a moment later I discovered the real reason for her earnest gaze. She told me, "You know, you could be Robin William's twin."

Most of you are probably familiar with that actor and comedian who got his start playing the lovable alien on the TV show "Mork and Mindy." But you may know him better from some of his numerous other roles over the years, from Mrs. Doubtfire to the voice of the genie in Disney's "Aladdin" to his more recent portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt in the "Night at the Museum" movies.

I have to admit that I was rather surprised by this comparison being made between myself and Robin Williams. I think I managed to utter some comment about "I'm not sure that's a good thing."

So tell me -- do I really look like Robin Williams? I'm not sure you can trust the picture that accompanies this column -- I've been told that I need to get a new one taken.

I guess it wouldn't bother me too much if I really do resemble that actor. It's just that we're so very different otherwise. He can be a rather crazy guy at times, and I understand he has been known to use rather crude and colorful language.

It reminds me of a recent comment I made to a friend at a local nursing home who informed me that he was dressing up as the devil for their Halloween party. I lightheartedly told him, "Well, I guess it's OK for you to look like the devil -- just don't act like him."

Similarly, I suppose it's OK for me to look like Robin Williams -- as long as I don't act like him. Then again, if I did act a little more funny and crazy, it might liven up my Sunday sermons and help keep a few people awake.

That incident at the grocery check-out reminded me that it's not as important who we look like physically as it is who we resemble inwardly. It wouldn't matter if I looked like Quasimodo or James Darren (although my wife would enthusiastically vote for the latter), as long as in my character and inner qualities people could see a close resemblance to Jesus.

That's what we should be aiming for. It's certainly God's goal for each one of us. It's been His plan and purpose for us from the beginning "to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).

He wants us not only to act more like Jesus, but to actually be transformed inwardly so that we become more like Jesus.

He wants to change our attitudes, our outlook, and our desires. He wants to infuse us with those same qualities of love, purity, and righteousness that we see in Jesus.

Some people spend far too much time and effort fretting over and trying to alter their outward appearance. Let's be those who focus more on who we are on the inside. No matter whom our physical features favor, let's seek to have God's Spirit so work in us as to give us a heart and spirit that reminds others of Jesus.

So for now, this is Mork's alleged twin signing off -- Nanu, Nanu.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.