Bob Tamasy: No Substitutes, No Imitations

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Over the years my wife has created a couple of pretty Pandora bracelets. Well, she didn’t actually create them, but did choose the specific baubles produced by the Pandora people to fashion her own unique bracelets that no one else has. With the vast array of choices, possibilities for one-of-a-kind combinations are endless.

The other day I was at a local restaurant and, as I was paying my bill, noticed a display of what initially appeared to be Pandora charms. They looked nice and I thought, “Wow! Are they selling Pandora items here now?” Then I noticed a little sign that read, “2 for $2.” Aha! Not the genuine article at all – cheap knockoffs, even though they looked like the real thing.

If you’re strapped for cash, I’m sure the imitations would seem like a deal.
You could have a bracelet that appears like the bonafide item, but at just a fraction of the cost. Kind of like the fake Rolex watches or high-fashion purses the sidewalk “entrepreneurs” try to sell passersby in New York City. They look real, only they’re not.

Substitutes – counterfeits for the genuine – aren’t limited to jewelry, clothing or accessories, of course. Sometimes we’re willing to settle for them because they cost less, or don’t require as much of us.

But when it comes to important matters, imitations and substitutes aren’t acceptable. Suppose you or a loved one get in an accident and suffer considerable loss of blood. Upon arriving at the hospital, you’re told, “Sorry, we’re all out of your blood type. But lucky for you, nurse Myrtle just got back from the grocery store with some excellent tomato juice, so we’re going to substitute that instead, okay?”

Ludicrous, right? But settling for imitations happens more that we’d like to admit. We find ourselves “looking for love in all the wrong places,” as the theme song of the film, “Urban Cowboy,” observed. In the spiritual realm, it’s even more pronounced.

People hop from church to church, or even from one belief system to the next, trying to find something that doesn’t seem too demanding. They want to align with something to believe in that fits comfortably within their biases and preferences, without insisting on a whole lot of commitment.

The apostle Paul addressed this strongly when he wrote, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

It’s clear the attraction of substitutes and imitations isn’t a new invention. Whether it’s a consumer product, a philosophy, or matter of faith, there will always be alternatives presented to us that seem more palatable, more accommodating to what we seek to fulfill our desires. 

Over the years, advertisers for everything from soap to automobiles have repeated the mantra, “Accept no substitutes!” to separate their products from the competition. Cheap imitations might work when shopping for a new pair of jeans, designer clothes or ballpoint pens. But in the realm of eternal truth, not so much.

When Jesus Christ made declarations like, “no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3) and “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t making suggestions, desperately seeking to recruit followers, or offering meaningless, empty boasts. 

In effect, Jesus was giving a simple, but extremely stern warning: “Accept no substitutes, no imitations!” That’s a warning worth heeding.

----

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also writes two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Free Food And Movie Night At Keith Baptist Church Nov. 10

Keith Baptist Church Hosts Fall Revival Nov. 14-18

"Ramp It Up" Is Sermon Topic At Metro Tab Church On Sunday


Keith Baptist Church invites the community to a free food and movie night on Saturday, Nov. 10 beginning at 6 p.m. at the church, 1573 Keith Road in the Ringgold/Tunnel Hill area of North Georgia. ... (click for more)

Keith Baptist Church will have its Fall Revival services Nov. 15-18. Jimmy McClure, pastor of North Georgia Baptist Church, will be preaching and Sacrifice will be singing during the services. ... (click for more)

Dr. Steve Ball, senior pastor, will discuss the topic "Ramp It Up" at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Music Ministry is led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. The Children's ... (click for more)


Church

Free Food And Movie Night At Keith Baptist Church Nov. 10

Keith Baptist Church invites the community to a free food and movie night on Saturday, Nov. 10 beginning at 6 p.m. at the church, 1573 Keith Road in the Ringgold/Tunnel Hill area of North Georgia. For more information, call the church at 706.450.0963 or visit their Facebook page. (click for more)

Keith Baptist Church Hosts Fall Revival Nov. 14-18

Keith Baptist Church will have its Fall Revival services Nov. 15-18. Jimmy McClure, pastor of North Georgia Baptist Church, will be preaching and Sacrifice will be singing during the services. The revival begins Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. and ends with the 11 a.m. service on Nov. 18. The church is at 1573 Keith Road in Ringgold/Tunnel Hill. For more information, call 706 450-0963 ... (click for more)

Breaking News

HCSO Corrections Corporal Arrested

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office personnel on Tuesday afternoon arrested HCSO Corrections Corporal Kaquience Williams on the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Corporal Williams was arrested after she was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop. She is presently in the booking process at the Hamilton County Jail and has been placed on ... (click for more)

Downtown Post Office Finally Getting Handicap Ramp

Chattanooga's Downtown Post Office, after some lawsuits and numerous complaints over the years, is finally getting a handicap ramp. Federal Judge Sandy Mattice said the complaints had increased in recent months and the General Services Administration agreed to fund the project at the historic building on Georgia Avenue. The judge said, "It's a beautiful building, but it's ... (click for more)

Opinion

Too Many Questions

First it was about 2,000, then we were told it’s up to 4,000. We have no way of knowing who’s coming or what their purpose is. NBC and CNN assure us they are seeking sanctuary but how can we know? Neither Honduras or our subjective media in America have been honest with us in the past. So, how do we know why that many people are marching across Central America? Then this morning ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: No, I’m Not Average

When Bear Bryant was the football coach at Alabama, he had a most delicious way of keeping his players on an even keel. If a player got a bit full of himself, Coach would set it up with one of his writer friends like this: “When everybody gets to where they ask questions, I want you to ask about (insert name) and how he is playing this year, alright?” It would always turn out ... (click for more)