Anyone remember those amusing TV commercials for Parkay margarine? If you don’t, watch this 30-second spot featuring NFL great “Deacon” Jones.
In every Parkay commercial, whenever someone lifted the lid, the yellow tub of margarine would debate its identity. The consumer would argue with the yellow suff in the container, proclaiming it “Parkay!”; but Parkay’s rejoinder was also the same: “Butter!”
After the consumer tastes the margarine, he or she would nod, agree that Parkay was smooth and creamy, so it must be true: it IS butter. But hey, just because something looks like butter, even tastes like butter, does not necessarily mean it is butter. Butter is butter! Made by contented cows with big brown eyes. Margarine, on the other hand, is a synthetic mixture engineered in a laboratory to approximate the qualities of the real deal. Personally, we’d rather put our trust in cows, not chemists!
All this, however, is beside the point. In these Parkay commercials, that poor yellow tub of margarine had an identity crisis. It wanted to be viewed as butter! Did it really believe it was butter? Nope. At the end of each TV spot, once the consumer gave in and agreed it was butter, the obstinate little yellow tub would tauntingly purr, “Parkay.”
Humor us for a moment. What precisely was Parkay’s problem? It knew it was margarine and not butter. Yet it wanted to be considered butter. Aha! Deep down, Parkay was feeling a little inferior. It wasn’t, after all, the real deal. But then, only butter is the genuine article. But did that make Parkay inferior? Did Parkay serve a special purpose in people’s diets? (Have we totally lost our minds?)
There are countless people in society who suffer a similar identity crisis. Like Parkay, they feel a little inferior to someone else. They go around competing with their friends, family, coworkers — and stubbornly try to convince the world they’re someone they’re not. Each of these people are unique in their own special way. And, like Parkay, they were created to fill a role only they themselves can fill. And yet, like the poor little tub of margarine, they’re not comfortable with who they are. Why?
For many people, their identity is tied to external factors; and they wrongly base their self-worth or significance on accomplishments, associations, and possessions. Let’s briefly examine these factors. Identity and self-worth have nothing to do with:
1) What we do. Jobs, career positions, sports, academic achievements, hobbies, and even ministries do not define us. What happens if (when) these functions are taken away? Do we lose our significance? Not in God’s eyes: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart….” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)
2) What we have. Owning stuff seems to confer status in our materialistic society. But big houses, fancy cars, and lots of “toys” can never really satisfy the inner longings we have. To quote the old Beatles song, “Money can’t buy me love.” Each of us has a God-sized hole in our spirits and no amount of stuff can fill it — only our Lord can do that! “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT) “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NLT)
3) Nor is our worth based on social standards or the opinions of the “in crowd.” All that matters is what God has to say about us in His Word. His standards are what we’re measured by: “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14 NASB) Furthermore, “…God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11 NLT)
“…God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT) Friends, don’t try to be something or someone you’re not. We don’t have to compare or compete with anyone. We each have our own unique identity — and infinite value, because we’re each worth the death of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ! We each were placed on this planet by God’s design … and in His wisdom. He doesn’t make mistakes.
Be the person God made you to be. Be confident in His love and acceptance. Find significance in Him, the Creator of the Universe, and in His plan for your life. It’s not WHAT you do that counts, it’s WHY that’s important:
“…Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 King James 2000)