A New Set of Clothes by Terry J. Hallock

A New Set of Clothes
Terry J. Hallock
Isaiah 40:27-31
March 17, 2002

During an appearance on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" the late comedian George Gobel was the last guest introduced. As he made his way to the guest chair next to Johnny Carson's desk he found himself in a group that included entertainment giants Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Jimmy Stewart, and of course Johnny Carson himself. Looking into the camera with an expression of absolute seriousness George said, "Have you ever felt like the whole world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?"

In a world of tuxedos don't we often feel like a pair of brown shoes? The world has a system that requires a certain kind of power for success and we don't often seem to possess it. The world system is about political and social connections we don't have, pedigrees of birth and education few of us can boast, and titles none of us will ever hold. We're not ever going to be on the White House guest list or even one at the local country club. In a world that celebrates and rewards those with the tuxedos most of us are brown shoes.

That doesn't mean that we haven't tried to dress for success. Several years ago I came into possession of a "power tie". Remember them? They were yellow with blue or red dots and when worn with an acceptable navy blue suit these "power ties" were supposed to open the doors to the halls of influence. People took them so seriously that for a while in the 1980's you couldn't turn around without seeing every up and coming young executive - male and female - dressed in a navy blue business suit adorned with a yellow "power tie". Well, guess what? The "power tie" went the way of the Nehru jacket and the Hula-Hoop. For most people it made no difference what they wore around their neck because every time they looked down there were those same old pair of ordinary brown shoes. They tried to find the power to make the system succeed and it left them tired and weary.

That's how Is ...


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