Advertising. Blessing or curse? Being in the industry I guess I should come down on the blessing side, but there are times when it becomes difficult to revel in advertising’s benefits. The alcohol ads which, despite the protests of the big liquor companies, cleverly and brilliantly target the underage by packaging, presentation, taste and communication are a curse. They offer good times and instead deliver life damage.
Other advertising seeks to persuade us that by spreading this yellow margarine concoction on our toast we can(by implication) become more healthy and extend our lives. This combined with the emphasis on super fitness and rigid diet will help us (we are told) live into a ninth decade or longer. Knowing those who have relatives who are in care because of age beyond the three score years and ten goal, one wonders at the quality of life is really enjoyed. What is behind our obsession with extending our life?
I suspect it is our fear of what ends it which hangs heavy. Death. Thanks to the advertising and marketing of funeral directors, death is likely to be the most expensive purchase of our lives after the house and the car – and possibly the way things are going only second to the house. But I digress.
We want to avoid death. It is a gut reaction because death removes us from the very thing/s which we hold dear. Relationships. Our jobs. Our possessions. All gone, often in an instant. Often death seems unfair. Intrusive. So we are anxious to keep it at bay. Looking at the face of the joggers as they seek to extend their lives…they’re not happy, they are worried.
The parable teller seems to think differently. “Which of you by worrying, can add a day to his life? If you are not able to do such a little thing, why do you worry about the rest?… And do not seek what you are to eat or what you are to drink or be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom and these things shall be yours as well.”
Is it possible that in our headlong rush to a materialist heaven, where we seek to deny or delay death, that we have not only failed to reach the elusive happiness, but have actually become stressed in the search? Our buying behaviour in the supermarkets or the Harvey Normans, our love affair with fad diets and a visible obsession with cooking programs on TV betrays us as we search for the new, the better, the best. Often to no avail.
Could there be another way to look at life? “Your kingdom come…” is part of a prayer which many of us can parrot off at will. What is that kingdom? Do we know what it entails? Is it that this kingdom which we are advised to seek has more in it than health food, a flat screen TV or a packet of Twisties?
The advice of the teacher is that in realising the spiritual kingdom ‘s realities of loving our neighbour as we love ourselves, our mind is set on eternal values which then puts this temporal life into a vastly different perspective. And to back the idea, there’s the promise that the creator God will not abandon our earthly needs as we put those values into practice and head towards the doorway where those eternal values become eternal reality.