Recently, I was a participant in the great Boxing Day sales! Not being an avid shopper or in need of anything in particular, you might wonder why I was there. Well, to the disbelief of some, I was there to catch up with friends. Walking around, shopping for a few hours…plenty of time to talk and catch up. Anyhow, I arrived promptly at 7am at Chadstone Shopping Centre to discover my friends had only just woken up. Fair enough, we had a late night before, anyway…moving on. With some time to myself, I journeyed the Fashion Capital to explore the extravaganza.
In my journey, I bumped into a young friend of mine and was given a brief, polite greeting and before I knew it seeing the back of this friend accompanied with the rushed-in-a-single-breath departing words, “Take care, get back to shopping!” I was immediately struck by the circumstance in which I was partaking. The revelation of how distorted and twisted our material society had become took me aback. Did I mention that my friend is a Christian?
Anyway, my eyes started seeing things quite differently as I saw lines and lines of people outside particular stores – Oroton, Swarovski, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton…the list goes on. As I was shopping with my friends later, the lines at the registers were snail-paced as people attempted to bargain on already discounted sale items… “Do I get anything if I buy two?” “What deal can you do me?” Looking back, the frenzy is still somewhat surreal.
It raises the ever prevalent question, “Who am I?” In a society which has lost its source of identity, people wander around aimlessly filling in the void with whatever they can to build up something of an identity. Brands, friends, career choices, other possessions become the defining factor of who a person is. Yet, even within these things, there are no firm distinctions, it’s all relative.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes words which define the Christian identity and its basis:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
- Just briefly, there are three things to note:
- we are saved by grace through God’s gift, there is nothing that we do to be saved.
- we are created by God with the purpose of doing good works.
- God planned all this before all things (see Psalm 139).
If there is a brand that, I hope, defines me, it is the One who made me, not something made by human hands. Jesus Christ willingly gave up His life to brand me, to mark me, to define me as a child of God… what more could I ask? I might not have Louis Vuitton, but I got Jesus Christ.