Age spots, pimple cream and stupidity

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Once I saw a commercial. This goofy teenager went to a party but the other kids shunned him. He left downcast. And how had he sinned to deserve such treatment?

He had a pimple!

But luckily for him, the television people had a marvelous solution—pimple cream! He put that miraculous paste on, went to a party, and the girls mobbed him. (Some of you teenage guys are saying, “Hmmm…what was the name of that cream?”)

I thought, “How stupid.”

Later, I saw a commercial starring a lady of a certain age (that’s a nice way of saying “old”). One day she looked at her hand and saw an unsightly brown spot: an age spot! She was horrified. Afterwards when her friends asked her to go and do things with them she was ashamed and refused. She covered the age spot self-consciously with her other hand.

Fortunately for her another company had just the solution. They had invented something that took away age spots, so she used it and voilà!; Industry had saved her social life.

And I thought to myself, “That the stupidest commercial I ever saw in my life.” I didn’t even know it was bad to have brown spots until I saw it on television. I thought they were freckles or something.

I blew it off until the day that I saw an unsightly brown spot on the back of my hand! “I wonder where I could get some of that stuff,” I thought.

Have you ever considered? If you’re happy with yourself, a lot of people are going bankrupt and others are going to lose their jobs. What do you mean David?

Take those age-spot remover manufacturers for example. How many people do you think they employ? Ten thousand? And how much does the factory owner make a year? A million dollars, maybe?

What if suddenly everyone who had age spots decided that these blotches were beautiful? “Look, Myrtle! A brown spot!”

“Oh, honey, that’s so beautiful! Why do some people have all the luck?” Tattoo parlors would add the possibility of getting age-spot tattoos to their dragon and wild-women tattoos.

And 10,000 people would be unemployed! And the owner would have to sell his Mercedes, go on unemployment, and buy a bicycle to get around. And the economy of the city around the factory would suffer because no one would have any money. And what if that spread through the economy?

I tell you, it would be a disaster if you felt good about yourself! Don’t do it whatever you do.

Have you ever considered the messages that bombard you each day? “You’re too fat, too thin. You don’t have the I-pod xy3 which is ages ahead of the xy2. Your computer is only a 100 gigas? No, it’s not possible! That car is going to break down, you know. It’s been 3 ½ years since you purchased it and here’s a great deal that you can’t pass up (don’t read the fine print because we’ve got a catch that skins you alive). Look what your friend just purchased. Think how your life would be complete with all that. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

I tell you folks! Buy it! You NEED it! Your life will be complete if you have that. And you’re keeping a lot of people in China at work.

What’s Happened?

We’re at the point that we need to do some real analysis about what’s happening to us. The advertisers—no, our society–has sold us the line that real happiness is more stuff, more gadgets. So how come we’re not happy more than a few minutes? Even our kids have mountains of toys, so many that we can’t move around in the house without stumbling over them. And all they want is another one.

You know, I think Paul in his day must have put a lot of people out of business. Here’s the way he lived:

“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.” (Phil 4:11-14, The Message)

Notice he had to learn to live like that. And today, we would have to dare to be different because people would think us a bit weird if we had other priorities in our life than stuff. But stuff is like drugs. As long as you’re on them you get a little boost. But then you come off the high and you have to get your next fix.

Let’s take some time to examine our priorities and what really should motivate us in life. We might find ourselves living differently, spending our time and our money for other priorities. And sending different messages to our children!

But I warn you, you can live like that if you want to, but if you do a lot of age-spot remover makers are going to go broke. Lots of others, too. If you want that on your conscience, then go ahead.


D.L. Moody comments on a time when he had seen the passion for souls of a Sunday School teacher change the life of an entire class of young ladies. “I didn’t know what this was going to cost me. I was disqualified for business; it had become distasteful to me. I had got a taste of another world, and cared no more for making money. For some days after, the greatest struggle of my life took place. Should I give up business and give myself to Christian work, or should I not? I have never regretted my choice. O, the luxury of leading some one out of the darkness of this world into the glorious light and liberty of the Gospel.”

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