Do you always have to have the latest, the coolest, the most expensive of whatever you have your eye on? What makes you that way? Could you be wrong?
I am amazed at the tennis (or gym) shoe industry. I passed by a Foot Locker store in a mall recently and saw dramatic shoe designs, powerful promotional techniques, and claims of high and improved performance that sought to capture my eye and my pocketbook. Signature shoes by a varied list of professional athletes invited me to buy their brand and be better, all the while why increasing their market share, influence, and profits. A pair of signature shoes could easily cost $200 or more!
I remember as a kid paying about $10 for my first pair of tennis shoes. They were made of black canvas and vulcanized rubber that seemed to have little suction cups on the bottom. The white circle logo over the ankle bone quietly said Converse, which were designed by Chuck Taylor. In those days Converse controlled most of the tennis shoe market. They offered great support, stop and go traction, and were affordable for anyone. We called them, “limousines for the feet.”
My junior high school basketball coach said Chuck Taylors were the best shoe ever made. No shoe holds the floor as well as that one. Twenty years ago I heard people saying if a shoe manufacturer said that Michael Jordan wore shoes with paper soles, kids would buy them.
Why are people so attracted to fancy designs and superstar endorsements? What makes us so gullible and susceptible to the hype and glamour promised in today’s call that, “You have to have this” advertising? What is wrong with functional, adequate, and inexpensive? Is it okay I still wear a comfortable pair of dress shoes that I bought twenty-five years ago and have had the soles replaced twice?
It happens in the Christian world as well. Musicians, speakers, and lead pastors with big names, conference resumes, designer clothes, and glossy marketing efforts are often sought after and emulated. We get the impression they have greater know-how of what looks good, has greater value, and it affects our perspective and ability to make our own choices and live with them. We seem to get the impression that they have greater insight and are more savvy, so to be like them we have to be cool and have the best.
Read 1 Peter 5:1-7.
There is nothing wrong with having good clothes, being well-groomed, and growing in your confidence and competence. Yet self-centeredness and worry about what others have, and a fear that unless we get that (whatever it is), we are missing out and somehow less-than-we-should be is wrong. The apostle Peter reminded his readers to clothe themselves with humility toward one another (v 5b), even as they cared for one another.
Are you envious of those who have things you do not have? Is their life really better than yours? On what do you base your opinion?
But let’s not be surprised. People were the same in Jesus’ day. When He humbly offered them what they needed most, they rejected Him and crucified Him. They preferred the shiny, shallow religious showmanship to the actual Son of God. All too often we do the same.
Walk wisely. Live simply, frugally, and generously. Less is often best.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz