The Colours Tie

Sorting out my wardrobes, I found my old school ties. They’re now of little practical use and not having attended some prestigious public school, I’d appear foolish wearing them again. Aside from why I still keep them, gentle readers may wonder why I have two. One has an additional white stripe giving it a more distinguished appearance, for it is a colours tie. My school, like many others and the one at which I now work, awards ‘colours’. This is some minor honour given for services to the school, which usually means the fattest rugby players and deftest cricketers. I belonged to neither, my PE teacher once expressing genuine wonder when I caught out the batsmen in third year games. Rather, I had a penchant for drama, and took a couple of lead roles in school plays. My prize was the coveted colours tie which I wore with some relish. It was a way of declaring to the world what great things I had achieved, of considering the First Eleven my equals. Of course, it was all a nonsense, a shouting into the gale. Yet many of us continue to don our colours even into adulthood.

How about the sports car owner? You might have a vehicle that can get from naught to sixty in only four seconds, but you’re no more entitled to travel in excess of 70mph as the old man in the old banger. The expensive car is just a way of communicating to your fellow road users, or neighbours, that you’ve made a success of life.

The one who wears heavily marked-up designer clothes finds them no more comfortable or heat-retaining than those clad in the supermarket’s own range. The big brand names on T-shirts are just a way of signalling how much spare cash you have and what great taste in clothing you enjoy.

The bejewelled woman with ears and fingers dripping gold and precious stones cannot see much of her own finery as she heaves about. It’s for others’ benefit, you see. Like a king’s crown, it is to signify the importance of the wearer to others present. Dragging around the additional weight of mineral and metal certainly offers no practical advantage. In one’s own chamber, away from others’ eyes, the articles of silver and gold are carefully removed, giving the owner more a comfortable sleep.  

In the second chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon looks back on his accomplishments:

I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to [water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.

Yet he concludes in verse 11:

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labour in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.

Our achievements, accomplishments, victories and possessions are seriously diminishing returns; they are ultimately worthless. It’s only what we do with the Lord Jesus that makes any difference to our value and happiness.

That whoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16b