I chaperoned a field trip for my granddaughter’s 1st grade class last week and had a blast! We loaded on yellow buses with no a/c and headed to the bowling alley with all of the other 1st grade classes.
My granddaughter, the social butterfly, was introducing me to all of her classmates on the bus when one of the boys looked down at my feet and said, “I like your shoes.” I thanked him for his comment and only later reflected on his observation. How many six or seven year old boys notice someone’s shoes? Why did this boy? I don’t know. I’m new to this field of study. (He says as he chuckles.)
I confess I don’t notice shoes unless they’re some wild, crazy, outlandish color, shape or style. Your shoes may be $200 running shoes. I wouldn’t know it. Would you need to tell me? My shoes were a brand new pair of black FILA running shoes bought for $20 off the end-cap of an aisle at Costco. (Did I tell you, you have to be member to shop there?) My favorite pair of shoes I own are a pair of leather deck shoes I bought from Goodwill. They are more comfortable than a shade on a warm summer day.
I don’t sound like I’m much of a consumer, do I? But the fact is I have over ten pairs of shoes and boots combined. I confess I was afraid to actually go and count them. It’s embarrassing. Who needs ten pairs of shoes? Who NEEDS 20 shirts? Who needs the newest iPhone or iPad? Who needs a NEW car or boat or jet ski? Who needs (fill in your favorite gadget or shiny object)? Hey, and while we’re at it, who wants to be a millionaire!?
We are consumers in a consuming world, but it’s not about eating to survive. I’m guilty of conspicuous consumption, consuming to be consuming. Jesus acknowledged we have legitimate needs and our Heavenly Father knows we need food and clothing. He also said our life does not consist of the abundance of the things we possess. We are not what we own and what we own does not make us what we are.
However, in my new young friend’s world, shoes are noticed, especially new shoes. In his world, it may be the one thing that displays status or makes one feel valued. I’m not sure. But, I was surprised he noticed my shoes and it made me think.
There was another child on our bus that made me think. She was a precious six year old girl. My granddaughter told me her friend didn’t know who the devil was and asked me to tell her. (I’m relatively sure this was because the devil was a new personality in my grandchild’s mind.) I asked the little friend with the beautiful hazel eyes and broad smile what she knew about the devil. She said, “Nothing”. I shared simple facts briefly and then went on to the more important question. Do you know anything about Jesus? “No.” Have you ever heard of Jesus? “No.”
My thoughts wonder to the prophet Jonah and the city of Nineveh. He sat down under a plant the Lord provided for shade and waited for God to strike down the city of Nineveh and destroy it for their lack of repentance. He did not like the Ninevites. When the plant that shaded him died and he was exposed to the hot sun he became angry.
Look at what the Lord said to him.
“… “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left…”
Jonah 4:10, 11 NIV
Are we consumed consumers? Are we more concerned with iPhones and iPads than we are with children who have never heard of Jesus? Do we know our neighbors? Do our neighbors know Jesus? I need more Jesus and less stuff.