Back before most young people were even born, the white-wall tire was a sign of class stating to everyone passing by that you were driving in style. The broad brush of white paint on the rubber tires often accompanied shiny spoked wheels glistening in the sunlight. There was no doubt, if you had those tires, you were in the upper crust.
One day along the way as society changed, those white-wall tires that once were a status symbol became a sign of extravagance and gaudiness being replaced by the black-walled tires we have today. It didn’t happen overnight but was a gradual change as the white-walls became thinner and thinner until they were eventually gone. Today, the only place you may find them is on a restored car of old reminding us of what life was like when those cars were on the road.
Anything can be a status symbol today. It’s often the first thing I look for when watching old movies; what was the ‘thing’ everyone had to have, wear, or do to be in style? 80’s movies are always fun to watch with the polo shirts, Ray-Bans, and pastel colors. Oh, I remember those very well. If you didn’t have your collar flipped up, then you were just a ‘nerd’.
Why do we need status symbols anyway? I mean, why is it so important to tell others who we are by following the latest fads? I was in the Sprint store the other day and made a comment to the young salesman how I thought the AirPods looked goofy and were more of a status symbol. I’m a Sony in-the-ear-high-fi guy myself. He laughed and gave me a look like I was from his grandfather’s generation. Yeah, he was probably right.
The bottom line is, it’s ok to enjoy the popular fashions, gadgets, and car tires for that matter. It’s when we begin to identify ourselves by them, that we start to fall into a pit of emptiness. So many times I’ve seen people feel down about themselves because their clothes, car, hairstyle, or phone wasn’t the latest, The superficial need had created a sense of inferiority that they struggled with every time they stepped outside.
God wants us to build our identity on Him. He give us these things in the world to enjoy, but one day, they will all pass away. It’s who we are inside that will last. Some of the most beautiful people I have ever met or been around, are those who have no need to ‘Compete with the Joneses’. They are content in themselves and in their faith. Quite often, just being around them makes a person become aware of just how much they may have fallen into the status trap themself.
I’ve never really been too tempted by having the latest & greatest; maybe to a fault. Yet, I do feel that pressure of competitiveness when it comes to my electronics to be honest. Not to brag, but to enjoy the latest technology of course.
Tonight, here’s to finding the balance between having the biggest and best verses being content with what we have. I’m still working on that character trait and want to encourage you along that path too. It’s possible to have nice things and not be driven by them. When everything in this life is said and done, we’ll leave them all behind and the only thing that will matter then is Heaven. Who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised when I get there and be picked up in a heavenly chariot with white-walled wheels… Yeah, that would be just like Jesus…