Depending on which Christian scholar you subscribe to, Jesus, at some point in his ministry, provided us the Lord’s Prayer that has crossed the lips of any practicing Christian, perhaps many, many times in his or her lifetime. In this prayer, we ask that we not be led into temptation. I suppose the Lord was far more concerned with much bigger temptations to mankind than cookies but that is precisely where I found myself after Sharon and my sister Wanda’s recent trip to Ikea. Let me explain.
If we take the Lord’s words at face value, we would do well to turn off the television, rock back with a good book and never eat in a restaurant again. Our world is full of temptation at every turn. Our Amish and Mennonite brothers and sisters are content to ramble about in a horse drawn carriage to take care of business. They share the roads with any number of motorized conveyances, all designed to tempt us to purchase the latest, greatest, fastest or most opulent vehicle we can afford. A closer examination of the Amish buggies will reveal varying degrees of fit and finish….within reasonable constraints of course. Temptation here? You be the judge. I stood in a Pennsylvania Amish kitchen a couple of years back while a demure grandmother touted the excellence of her gooseberry jam. The temptation was too much and I acquired a jar of the sweet goodness. She was baking bread, the smell of which was simply too tempting to resist. The gooseberries simply closed the deal.
Current advertising strategies in America are constructed around temptation. As an example, sex, a much ballyhooed temptation, sells a lot of things. A lovely, scantily clad siren leaning on a car of any description, enhances the appeal of that car, whether it be a Corvette or a Prius. The lascivious consumption of a s’more by a hearty country soccer mom, in tight jeans and flannel, at a fireside picnic, enhances our desire for a Graham Cracker, Hershey bar and big fluffy marshmallow. Advertisers also understand that a subtle addition of sexual innuendo will have a greater effect on a 20 year old than a 70 year old person, who tends to be more concerned with mileage and comfort. (The car, not the model…..) No matter how you sum it up, they are tempting you to buy their product. I am still thinking over the relationship between a couple sitting in two separate bathtubs in front of a waterfall to male performance drugs. Maybe it is age again, but side by side bath tubs in front of a waterfall does not conjure up thoughts of…..well you know. On the other hand, a hormonally charged 20 year old can drift towards amorous thoughts when they see a cardboard box. They tend to be enveloped in temptation, seeing tempting opportunities everywhere.
Back to the cookies. For reasons known only to Sharon and the Master, my sister succumbed to the temptation to buy a plain box of ginger snaps at IKEA as she left the store last week. She left them in Sharon’s car where they found their way onto the freezer in our garage where they tempt the devil out of me every time I walk by them. They are delicious little cookies and I am struggling to avoid one or two every time I walk by them. Mind you, I don’t need them, but I cannot leave them alone. Boom, something else I will have to account for one day. These little brown morsels have now threatened a handful of Oreos and a glass of milk as an ultimate temptation. I don’t need another car, but Lord help me if I see an add with a comely lass, wearing the remnants of a bathing suit, leaning on a new model, with a glass of milk and handful of ginger snaps or Oreos in her carefully manicured hands.
I am guessing there are little temptations and big temptations but life has taught me to judge not. The prayer does not suggest that we avoid being led into big temptations as opposed to little temptations, so I am a failure on some level. There is a lot of space between the Ten Commandments and a box of ginger snaps………choose carefully!
Fall has finally shown it’s color a bit. Have a great weekend and watch the temptations…….