Image isn’t Everything

Associate Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat with two numbers: 714 and 1330. Known as the Home Run King, Ruth also wore the not-so-complimentary title as Strikeout King. Did you know beyond his hitting prowess, Ruth was a pretty good pitcher, amassing a W/L record of 94-46 with an ERA of 2.28? At the plate, he carried a .342 batting average, collected 2873 hits, and knocked in 2213 RBI’s. There was more to Babe Ruth than just that trot around the bases.

How about George Armstrong Custer? He is mostly remembered for the disaster at Little Big Horn in 1876. Underestimating the strength and skill of his opponents, Custer split his force of 700 men and suffered a devastating defeat. By the time the battle was concluded, Custer lay dead along with two of his brothers, a nephew, a brother-in-law, and almost 270 men with 55 wounded. Out of the twelve companies in 7th Cavalry, five were wiped out. Few remember that Custer was the youngest man to be named general in the US Army. His effectiveness during the Civil War saw him rise in the ranks as one of the Union’s most effective leaders. After serving in a decisive role in the Appomattox Campaign, Custer was present when General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

Image is important, right? Just ask Andre Agasi. In 1990, Agassi was at the top of his game. Speaking of the top, he was known by his flowing blonde mane that reminded people of a lion with a mullet haircut. What people didn’t know was that Agassi was wearing a wig. He had started to lose his hair at 17. He may have lost the French Open in 1990 because he was so concerned that his wig might blow off. His tag line had been “Image is Everything.” Whoops!

To his credit, he decided to focus more on his play on the court than his look. He shaved his hair and just started playing the game he loved.

In our celebrity-absorbed culture, a lot of people get their few minutes of notice. There’s always seems to be a Kardashian lurking nearby. The glut of reality shows says more about us that the pitiful people who seem to believe there is something interesting about their pathetic lives.

Need help crafting your image? There is a company called Rent the Runway that offers red-carpet “designer” dresses. Or you can hook up with a jewelry company named Adorn that will rent you a $24k diamond necklace for $260 and a pair of $8250 earrings like Princess Kate wore at her wedding. You gotta have wheels, right? Gotham Dream Cars will rent you a Maserati or Bentley or Rolls-Royce. You can get an R-R Phantom convertible for the princely sum of $1950 per day. Not bad when you realize those babies list at $427,000.

I guess image is everything. Not the image on a reality show or a gossip magazine. The Bible says we are made in the image of God so perhaps we don’t need all the pretense and put-on. Perhaps we need to discover what it means to be more like Him than the latest celebrity that just flashed across the screen. Remember the words of Paul: “I keep working for that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be” (Philippians 3:12).

You and I need to realize there is only One audience who really matters.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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