Are you an “end-result” kinda person? I’ve noticed that this is how some of the marketing sorts grab our attention, evidently assuming that we are that “end-result” kinda person! And it makes sense, actually…… Here’s what I want to happen!! And here’s how it’s gonna! It’s the principe of the “IF / THEN math”! If you want THAT…… then you do THIS!
Do you want thin thighs? Ahhhh, the memories flood back…. Suzanne Sommers and the Thigh Master! It really seemed doable at the time!
Do you want to bring new life to your salads? Do you want to chop onions without crying? The Ronco Veg-O-Matic…. it dices and slices and so much more! Ahh yes……Ron Popeil! He became the perpetual pitchman of late-night TV back in the day for all things kitcheny! I understand his original one-firm-stroke gizmo is actually in the Smithsonian Museum!!
Do you want to look like a Hollywood movie star? Back in the late 1950’s, Pond’s cold cream was probably the average woman’s attempt at such! And I can remember my mother’s beauty routine….. it consisted of said Ponds, accompanied by a compact with a big powder puff and a little red lipstick! But it worked, by golly! She and her sisters were so beautiful!
But what about today? Oh my….. what with the internet and the world-wide web, our options are limitless and daunting! Who can handle all the possibilities and promises?!!!
All this to say…. We are a people who are drawn to POSSIBILITY and PROMISE! Unrealistic as it might be, we never seem to give up hope that MAYBE… just maybe… this time it really will work!
Interestingly enough, this “train of thought” was brought to mind as I was reading in Proverbs this morning! Proverbs is such an intriguing collection of wisdom —
As Proverbs 3 was unfolding before me, I couldn’t help but go back in my mind to the marketing days of old, applying the principle of “IF / THEN math” to the verses! Indulge me here…..
(from Proverbs 3:2)
Do you want long days and years of life, PLUS peace?
(well who wouldn’t want that???)
And the thing about it is, verse 1 tells us exactly how to get it! You want to live long and live in peace? DON’T FORGET THE TEACHING AND THE COMMANDMENTS!! DON’T FORGET ‘EM!
Prov. 3:1-2 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
(from Proverbs 3:4)
Do you want favor and good success in the sight of God and man?
(well who wouldn’t??? Who doesn’t want to be looked upon favorably? Who doesn’t want to be successful in life?)
And the things about it is, verse 3 tells us exactly how!!
Prov. 3:3-4 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
There ya go… steadfast love and faithfulness — by golly BIND these around your neck! WRITE them on the tablet of your heart! When I read strong words like this…. bind and write… it speaks to me of a very focused and intentional mindset. Favor and success don’t just happen by random default.
(from Proverbs 3:8)
Do you want healing and refreshment? (Oh my goodness…. those 2 words, in and of themselves, evoke such mental pictures of serenity and beauty and peace and joy. What mental image comes to your mind when you think of healing and refreshment?)
We get various snippets of images on Instagram promos that are intending to lure us in! They show us a beautiful sunset or an inviting front porch or an ocean view with billowy clouds! Often these snippets are actually ads wanting you to make a reservation at a particular resort and “you, too, can relax in paradise….”
But will it be? Even if you go, will you not have to eventually come back home to “your life”, such as it is? Well, v.5-7 tells us how we can have that healing and refreshment without spending a dime or traveling a foot!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
There ya go…. TRUST GOD (not yourself). ACKNOWLEDGE HIM. FEAR HIM. TURN FROM EVIL. But when we read a list like that, it doesn’t necessarily sound “easy”, does it? It doesn’t sound like the “one-firm-stroke gizmo” that the marketing gurus tend to promise us! Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to have straight paths, and healing, and true refreshment? Oh yes. A thousand times over and again…. a resounding YES!
And the last one that we will look at…..
(from Proverbs 3:10)
Do you want your bank account to be filled with plenty and your pantry to be overflowing? That particular question almost seems ridiculous!! Like a no-brainer! We spend a LIFETIME trying to stay ahead of that curve ball! We start our kids off in school, educating them so that they will grow up and be smart, have good jobs, great careers, make a good living, and then make good financial decisions so that they can retire, thus still able to live the lifestyle to which they have grown accustomed. The end. But in this day and time, with our unstable economy and the uncertainty of life….. all I gotta say is: “Good luck with all that!”
Ahhh, but enter the scene our proverbial words of wisdom from God’s Word!! He makes financial planning easy-peasy!
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Put simply…. honor Him with what you have and with what He’s allowed you to make! And did you notice….. Honor Him FIRST! With the first-fruits of all that comes into your possession!
Marketing — it’s an interesting anomaly! If you want THIS….. then do THAT! Sometimes we don’t want it bad enough. The price is too high….. or so we think. Actually, can we afford not to?
In C.S. Lewis’ well-known book “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, there’s a familiar quote where Susan asks if Aslan is safe….
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
I would offer,….. is obedience, steadfastness, faithfulness, trust, fear, and honor easy? Who said anything about easy? Of course it isn’t easy…. but He is good. He’s the King, I tell ya!!”