THE COUPLE STRUT as though they are walking up the aisle after exchanging their marriage vows, or like they have just won the “Year’s Best” award at an annual honors show. But what have they actually done to make them the center of everyone’s attention? They are drinking a new soda.
It took a moment for the absurdity of this television ad to strike me. The whole look-at-me vibe was about a soft drink choice. I mean, seriously, does anyone really care what sort of soda you like? What’s next, someone standing next to the supermarket checkout bagger to applaud your weekly grocery selections?
Forget that it tastes great, has zero calories, gives you a boost of energy, or that for every can you buy someone plants a fruit tree somewhere. They want you to purchase their drink because it means you are special. That sort of pitch doesn’t say much about the product or the consumer.
It does say a whole lot about where our culture has gone as we suffocate in search of self-importance. Elaborate nuptials that turn the congregation into an audience have put the us in espoused, while reminiscences that emphasize how much someone’s death has impacted a person has put the me in memorials.
Ever noticed how one of our favorite forms of social communication is me-squared (meme)?What’s gone so wrong that we need to keep reminding ourselves and others that we are so special, all the time? Maybe it’s because, actually, we really don’t feel all that special at all?
All this making a noise about ourselves stands in marked contrast to the apostle Paul’s admonition to “live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Thess. 4:12). He echoed the direction in another letter, telling church members to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
There’s a delightful irony in his words. We tend to think of ambition as getting ahead so people will notice us, while Paul wants us to be successful at being overlooked. Ironically, in a world where everyone is demanding to be seen and heard, it just might be that you make more of an impact when you sit down and shut up, and let your everyday living speak for you.
As Sean Fowlds, a former work colleague, observes in a short video commentary, “A quiet life stands out as a sign of sanity in our age of chaos and confusion.”
Choosing a back seat over center stage may not give you the opportunity to sell anyone a fizzy drink, but you could get to introduce them to the source of Living Water with a contrary message: Look at Him, not at me.Photo: http://www.freepik.com/photos/blue”>Blue photo created by nakaridore – http://www.freepik.com