Grown-ups are like that…Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What game does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?
Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
– The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
He’s right! Grown-ups are like that. We place much worth on things we find expensive, of value. The higher the number, the shinier and prettier it is in our eyes. Why are we like that? Why do we “look at the outer appearance?” 1 Sam 16:7
Even second-hand stores prove this point. “Really? How?” you say. Well take a good look at, say, Goodwill, for instance. They have their racks for regular clothes and a special section just for ‘designer apparel.’ Even the description changes. Doesn’t ‘designer apparel’ appeal more to your senses than regular clothes?
I have witnessed a person go for a plain-looking designer top, obviously not being the person’s style, just because it bore a brand name label. Usually you can purchase a very similar top at a small boutique in the mall for a fraction of the price. But because it’s nicer to have the name [insert favorite logo here] roll off your tongue, then thrift store, it’s suddenly more glamorous and more appealing. It’s sad really. Yet this is the type of culture we live in, especially in the United States. This culture is not much different from the one in Jesus’ time. And He warned us that we should:
…“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
We value possessions. We give places of honor to those whose job/professional title is added to their birth name. We watch different shows on television, even the commercials, or the magazines at the check-out counter and secretly wish we had some more.
In The Little Prince, this smart young man implies the futility of working, working and working all your life to obtain many useless things. He goes on to say:
I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved anyone. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day he says over and over, just like you: ‘I am busy with matters of consequence!’ And that makes him swell up with pride.
Bingo! That’s exactly what that is. Our infatuation with figures, with materials, with the things of this world is connected with our pride. Instead of our hearts being inclined to the heavenly things, to things that matter, it is tied to the things of this world. These things will soon perish and only the truly valuable things will remain. Solomon, the wisest man in the world ended the book of Ecclesiastes like this:
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
That’s it folks. That’s the way we ought to govern our lives – fearing God Almighty and keeping His commandments. The commandments include loving Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. It includes loving our neighbors as ourselves. It includes being filled with the Holy Spirit. It includes being Christ-like so that He will get the glory out of our lives. May we be diligent to endeavor in that regard. I leave you with this comforting verse:
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Luke 12: 27-34 [Emphasis added]
To what does your heart incline? Where can it be found?