Sunday, May 28, 2017


Small thin lines are easily stepped over or ignored. Most of us have at one time or another justified sticking a toe or two over those lines, with the self-assurance that we will easily be able to quickly retreat to the safe side of the line, only to wake one day and realize the line is hardly visible on the horizon behind us.

One of those lines comes under the heading of vanity. Although it may include the kind of vanity upon which the cosmetic and fashion world have amassed fortunes, the more inclusive definition from the dictionary says vanity is that which is worthless, futile or a state of being falsely proud of oneself. We can easily see how the common use of covering physical flaws with camouflaging cosmetics or shape changing clothing can be referenced as a form of vanity. If used in the correct way, there would be few of us who have not done the two step dance over vanity’s thin line.

When we read of the scriptural condemnation of vanity, we should understand that the reference may have included painted Jezebels and Cleopatra’s, but the proclamation that vanity was one of the most destructive sins of mankind encompassed a much larger congregation.

Old Testament prophets identified vanity as the cause of the judgements of God coming upon the people. Modern revelation reaffirms that they of old did not have exclusive rights to the consequences of vanity.

New Testament apostles identified vanity as that which caused people to turn from God. Modern revelation brings meaning to the ancient words by saying vain people become gods unto themselves.

Modern day prophets have proclaimed and pinpointed vanity as that which brings us all to be governed by frailty and foolishness.

There have probably been times for each of us when it could have been said, even if but for brief line crossing, toe tapping moments:

Do you really think the world revolves around your head?

Do you really believe if you were not, neither would the world be?

Why are you acting as if everyone were subservient to you?

Do you really think that cap is a crown?

Do you really think your position on every matter is the right one?

Do you ever wonder if the day will ever come when you realize you do not have a corner on correct ideas and answers!

Of course, during this last phase of my mortal life, I now stay well away from the thin line which separates my normal modest self from any form of vanity. However, there was a time when I kept a list in my pocket to remind me that the vanity line I was just going to briefly cross with my littlest toe, was approaching the far away horizon in my rear view mirror.

WATCH OUT – When you are getting upset that others are talking so much about themselves that you can't interject the words which would help them understand how wonderful you are!

WATCH OUT – When you become convinced that your trivial squirts of facts are fountains overflowing with wisdom!

WATCH OUT – When you think the inch of territory you have gained makes you a ruler!

WATCH OUT – When you think the rut you are in indicates you are in the groove!

In just a short time of rummaging in garbage heaps, salvage yards and even in museums and libraries, we will soon come to the realization that these are all repositories of yesterday’s latest and greatest which are now looked upon as outdated and antiquated.

Book shelves in the dingy basements of libraries are overflowing with seldom-read best sellers of ages gone by.

Salvage yards expand their fences in order to accommodate the accumulation of the dreary remains of Detroit’s dream designs.

Mountainous monetary gain is being accumulated as new ways of disposing of Mt. Everest sized heaps of yesterday’s indispensables are engineered.


I have no idea what reminders would be best for each of us as we twinkle a toe over that thin line of vanity, but it might help if we are feeling especially pleased with ourselves to blow some dust off of some half read books or go to a junk yard and scrape some rust off of a Pontiac or just drive by a garbage dump and take a big sniff. And then maybe, just maybe, we will remember for a moment the mite that we really are, and quickly pull our toe back from that thin line of vanity.



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