Flashy Rags, Priceless Sneakers

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I was talking with a good friend a few days ago. Catching up, you know, and comparing notes.

So apparently, my friend was at this marathon some weeks back and noticed a group of young women dressed to the nines in running gear. Their outfits reeked of newness, from their half zip shirts to their sparkling new running shoes. They stood out quite clearly against the backdrop of tired shirts and shorts and ragged sneakers the other runners wore. It was interesting how my friend thought it was that fashionable group who seemed out of place.

I imagined myself there, like I was running that marathon (cue laughter here). At first sight, I probably would be impressed by the getup of that crowd. I would certainly assume they’d be at the finish line first, after all, who spends that much money in running gear if they weren’t really serious about it? Really?

But then common sense would hit, and I would realize how wrong I could be.

The clues are so obvious, ones that my friend picked up on right away—the real runners, the ones who will have me eating their dust, would be those dressed like they run everyday. {Makes me think of something a Sunday School teacher once told me: the evidence of growth lies in a tattered Bible.}

So now I’m thinking, much of life is like that peacock crowd.

Or like that impressive house with the ginormous patio and a built-in grill that makes us slow down and gawk each time we drive by, but never has any signs of life.

Or like those hi-tech church websites that advertise everything from worship services that are positive and encouraging to having their own baristas in the lobby ready to make your coffee just the way you like it, but have no real grasp of discipleship and never really challenge you to question your claims to faith.

Or like that psuedo-celebrity Christian who sees everything that’s wrong with the world, but ignores his own failings.

Or like that flashy couple in your circle whom everyone admires—least of all for their enviable careers, but have latchkey children struggling desperately to earn their parents’ attention.

I could keep going, but then I might end up using myself as an example. Never good. But feel free to add your own…

 

Now, I have friends a world away who are the complete opposite.

They don’t wear the proper shoes with the right outfit all the time.

They don’t really care that there are specific shoes made for specific sports or outdoor activities. They wear the same pair of sneakers when they’re out and about visiting people—some who live on paved streets that make for smooth walking and some who live high up in the mountains requiring a bit of a hike.

Their faded jackets are good enough, as long as they stay warm and dry.

Yup, most of their stuff are worn and shabby, but they keep them because they are still useful.

They couldn’t care less about how they look like. Their eyes are always turned upward and outward, away from themselves.

They don’t talk about giving and sacrifice, but their lives scream of generosity and unselfishness. And anything they own, they own because they need them. Excess baggage is just that—excess. Never necessary.

And they don’t have the latest phone, but personally, I think it’s because they are smarter than the smartest phone.

See, they live the kind of life I have only mostly written about.

I wish I could be more like those friends.

I should start by looking at my closet.

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