Saturday night as I waited up for the prom queen to come home (not literally the prom queen, just the little princess of this house who felt like a queen for the evening), I was privy to watch all sorts of enlightening commercials on television. If you think the ads are crazy during the day, you should check out the ones they reserve for late night TV watchers, folks who are mourning the fact that they are home alone watching TV on a weekend night or maybe those who have put away a few and are carrying on conversations with the people on the screen.
At any rate, I learned more than I ever needed to know about the newest ways to grow tomatoes (upside down hanging from a bag), get your cat's claws groomed (I never knew that was such a big deal... we have dogs), paint a room, bump your hair up a notch (or two or three), hang more clothes in your closet, lose weight and grow additional and longer eye lashes.
Now I do love me a good tomato, but I am most familiar with the traditional way of growing these summer treats - straight up from the ground or a large pot, confined with a tomato cage or along a post. Something about them hanging from a bright green bag strung up on your patio just doesn't seen natural to me. Maybe you could enlighten me if this method has actually worked for you. I'd be curious to know since I do indeed have a backyard the size of playpen. But this commercial definitely played on my ignorance. I saw the same two silly and gullible looking senior adults pulling the same two tomatoes from their hanging vine over and over, but I never saw any facts or figures, something I usually require before investing my $19.99 in anything I've never seen before.
Come to think of it, all of these commercials played on my ignorance. They assumed I was ignorant about the given subject matter (and most of us are, when it comes to how cats groom their claws or how eyelashes grow), they kept me as ignorant as possible while feeding me senseless information and miraculous demonstrations, and they asked me to act on my ignorance by sending them my money and giving their product a try.
Now this is not to say that if you've ever ordered anything off the television you are ignorant. I'm sure there's some good stuff out there worth ordering and maybe even some of the products I saw Saturday are completely worth the 19.99 they all happen to cost. That's not the point of this post. So if you're steaming under the collar right now because I've made fun of your favorite way of shopping, please forgive me and hang in there with me. No offense intended toward you TV shopper folks.
But as I sat there watching the happy cat groom its little claws on its compact and sturdy Emery Cat for the second time during my third Hallmark Channel movie (and therein lies my addiction), I honestly got one of those "voice of God" messages. It helped that I had just read and written about Eve's conversation with the serpent a couple of days before, but I clearly
heard felt God say to me, "Reference back to Genesis 3:1-7, Kay, where Satan is convincing Eve why she needs to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She too already had everything she needed and more, but that sneaky snake came along and sold her a bill of goods based on faulty promises and by playing to her ignorance."
And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die!
For God knows that in the day you eat from it
your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes,
and that the tree was desirable to make one wise,
she took from its fruit and ate;
and she gave also to her husband with her,
and he ate.
Yes, Madison Avenue has definitely done their research in Genesis 3 and they have the spiel down pat. Appeal to the senses, promise the moon, assume the consumer is ignorant, don't bother with all the facts - just the ones that serve your purposes, and glaze over the price like it's no big deal. And, because there is indeed a "sucker born every minute," that should seal the deal!
But God didn't interrupt my regularly scheduled Hallmark movie just to enlighten me to the ways of Madison Avenue and keep me from buying a Emery Cat (though those folks actually had me contemplating the merits of that little plastic thing and I don't even own a cat!). He got my attention to remind me that the serpent, now known as Satan, continues to work in the same way. He's a slick one and he found him a pitch that has worked over and over through the centuries.
So the reminder to me was a bit of a paraphrase of 1 Peter 5 8-9:
Be awake, alert, aware!
You think you're above the slick talk and visual appeal?
There is an ad executive better than any on Madison Avenue,
and he whispers in your ear like a smooth-talking "as seen on tv" voice-over
seeking someone to suck in for the low price of 19.99.
He won't tell you the real price of whatever he's hawking
and he'll make promises he can't deliver on
but he doesn't care
because even if you ask for a refund (or repent)
he's had you long enough to profit from your stupidity.
Resist this slick talking salesmen
by being firm in your knowledge of the truth
and by taking courage from all the others
who are resisting those same enticing ads.
(Kay's late-Saturday-night paraphrase)
I didn't order the Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree, the Emery Cat, the Hanger Cascader, or the Point'n Paint. And, though I only have about a dozen scrawny eyelashes on each eye, I even resisted whatever it was that will grow your lashes to look like Brook Shields'. But believe me, I've been sucked into many a lie from that sneaky serpent and those faulty promises costs me a lot more than $19.99. I bet you've been suckered in a few times too.
I avoided being tempted to buy a Bumpit by simply getting up from the sofa and going to brush my teeth instead of listening to the promises of hair with bumped up volume - something I'm always after, thanks to my upbringing. But resisting the deceitful charms of the sneaky snake sometimes is a little more difficult. Got any suggestions? I'd love to hear how you resist the devil's smooth talk today. We could all use some tips I'm sure. So please do tell!
Labels: Christian walk, temptation