On a recent holiday with my family we made a spontaneous decision to go for afternoon tea in a high class hotel. Thinking more about our stomachs than our appearance we arrived in our t-shirts and shorts looking rather disheveled having dressed that morning for the beach.
I could sense the disapproving glares of the well groomed guests as they looked our party up and down. Our Kmart specials didn’t seem to cut it in this environment and we could read the thoughts:
“They shouldn’t be allowed in here”
There is an unspoken rule in the high end hotels that your appearance must always look like you can afford to stay there even if you can’t. Image is everything, they have a reputation they are paid to uphold and I understand that it’s not good for business to just accept every vagabond off the street.
Despite our casual dress they still seated us, but you could feel the air of superiority from some of the guests, looking down on us as we took our place around the table.
‘Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us’
The ironic part of this tale is that contrary to our appearance that day, we have actually stayed in some of the worlds most prestigious hotels many times, like Sandy Lane in Barbados and the Burj al’Arab in Dubai. We have dined in some of the worlds finest restaurants like The Ritz in London or Le Jules Verne Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. All of that, however, was cleverly disguised in the $9 top I was wearing.
On a whole my experience of affluent people is really positive they are some of the kindest most generous and tenderhearted people on the planet. Yet it is just the minority that adopt this superior attitude that has unfairly labelled the entire group.
It was quite amusing to me to be seen as an alien in this world and I was quite enjoying the irony. The disapproving glares we were getting from one table in particular made me appreciate why so many fall prey to the feelings of worthlessness if they’re not sporting the latest expensive attire.
I refused to be a victim of that small minded attitude. A cheap handbag does not represent the value of the person holding it.
Oscar Wilde said “The true perfection of man lies not in what man has, but in what man is.
As I tucked into my cucumber sandwiches and cream tea, my eyes rested upon an older lady who was very elegant and beautiful in her appearance. She was blonde, slender, toned, tanned and plastic.
Instantly a compassion for her overwhelmed me.
As we locked eyes for a moment a feeling of deep sadness and loneliness came flooding out from her soul. All I could see was her pain and disappointment at this life.
I instinctively knew that although she had everything she ever wanted; The expensive clothing, the rich husband, the perfect body, the overflowing bank balance; there was a price that she regrets paying for it.
‘What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? Or what can he give in exchange for it?’
She has exchanged her own identity for a fake ID bought with plastic surgery. She has followed the same lie that so many foolishly believe, that their value is found in a high price tag and a perfect body. A futile pursuit that leaves you empty and alone.
True value is not found in something that can be bought but in something that is freely given.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Saying yes to God and living our life Gods way is the only way to an abundant life and a gift that is freely given to us.
When you know whose you are then you’re as confident in a $9 shirt as a $900 shirt. Your contentment is not based on your circumstance but in who God is.
The Apostle Paul so rightly said:
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
Your value is not found in the gods you create but the God who created you.