Thursday, September 14, 2006

Well, If You're Going To Be Gullible...


These past two weeks, Tom and I have noticed something while watching tv. Nearly every hour someone on the screen is telling us what we MUST HAVE.

If we have a family, then we're told we MUST HAVE everything from a sprawling mansion, a large swimming pool, or an ATV, to a giant television, a kitchen made for a professional chef or a car big enough to haul 26 children (all in comfort).

If we need a job, then we MUST HAVE a big, important-sounding career. If we have one academic degree then we MUST HAVE another more impressive-sounding degree. If we're going to entertain our friends, them we MUST HAVE the very best food and comfortable furniture and fun-time tickets to offer them.

If our appliances are worn-out, we're told we must replace them with fresh-off-the-conveyor-belt handy-dandy appliances which do everything except close your eyes for you when you lie down at night. No, but they slice and dice and wash and dry and mix and fluff and turn on and off and dust and swipe and vacuum and drill and phone and photograph and record and play and heat and blow and sweep.... And well, if we don't have all of those things, then really! We are behind the times and wearing ourselves out early and wasting time and money doing things for ourselves.

And I'm not just talking about tv commercials, either... The MUST HAVE voices are everywhere--on cable home improvement shows and talk shows and radio shows and online and in catalogues-- and even your best friends and Aunt Martha, too, are the best preachers of the MUST HAVES. They are now everywhere amongst us.

We have been invaded.

And then we wonder why people are deeper in debt than ever before in our history. Oh, of course there are other reasons and issues--I know about how impossible (for most people) it is to live on minimum wage and without health care. I watch those news shows and read those articles and listen to people in real-life who are struggling. I've been around.

But I also watch people being told you MUST HAVE such-and-such--and with all gullibility--they start telling themselves, "Hmmm... Yes! I MUST HAVE such-and-such! I MUST HAVE that thing which will make my family's life easier. That thing which I was told I could not live without. That thing that all-my-neighbors-have-and-don't-we-all-need-that-to-get-by-in-Life-and-be-happy?"

If only we could all slow down and think awhile... and remember back to our grandparents' day and how they got along fine without most of what we are told we MUST HAVE today. How they, instead, used creativity, ingenuity and made the most of what they had. And then felt pretty proud about all that ingenuity--dare I say even rich in ways many of us will never feel rich?

People keep referring to those yesterdays as The Good Old Days --days when things and times were simpler. And today I thought--there's a great search happening so to simplify our lives by using gadgets designed to save our time and our backs. But after collecting these things which we're told we MUST HAVE, Life is --mostly--just getting more complicated, more crowded and much, much more expensive.


***
1 Timothy 6:8
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

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