BY STEVE DUNN
“I wasn’t always the cool person you see standing before you today.”
The Fonz IS cool – or was. Cool is an outdated concept (or at least I don’t hear that expression much any more) but the desire to be concerned special, admired and a little bit intimidating is not. People are still obsessed with image–and the wealthier among us have been known to hire someone to manage that image.
And some of us live in fear of what other people think of us. We go to great lengths–including doing some pretty ridiculous things so people will give their approval of our personhood. A lot of people buy electronic devises the cannot afford, or get elaborate tattoos in embarrassing places, or volunteer for causes they do not understand because they want people to think we are “cool.”
Anonymity is to be feared. No one wants to be a number, and few want to be lost in a crowd. So we even pursue notoriety in order to avoid anonymity.
As a result our heroes tend to be celebrities. We overlook their eccentricities. We applaud their narcissism. It is character that is often lost in the cloud of dust raised by a posse pursuing the latest trending idol. Good deeds are done to beef up resumes. The least and the last in our world are dismissed from our responsibility to love our neighbor. Someone else will waste their time and take the risks.
In the end human praise and affirmation is fleeting. The prize we seek becomes worthless in world of planned obsolescence. Even if they raise a statute to us, sooner or later someone is going to gaze on it, read the inscription and say, “Oh, just some old dead guy.”
Jesus challenges us to seek our worth in serving. Mark 9.35 records his words: “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
The ultimate cool in the Kingdom of God is to be a blessing to others, especially to “the least of these.”