From the Rectory – August

Henry Ford’s vision of the future was one in which no-one earning a good salary would be unable to afford one of his Model T cars. Most famously, his description of the choice he would make available to customers is one of his best known quotes.

‘Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it’s black’

Ford’s belief was that it was only 5% of customers who wanted something different. The ninety-five percent would purchase a car without making a fuss or requesting an alternative colour. This, says Ford, is why you should concentrate on the 95% rather than the five.

Visit any car showroom from any model from any manufacturer, even his own, and you’ll see how much Ford’s legacy when it comes to customer choice still exists.

It doesn’t.

It’s not just the colour of the vehicle that it’s now possible to choose, but engine size, interior trim, diesel or petrol, sunroof or not, wheel diameter, sat-nav, dog guard, tow bar and more. The potential combination of variations is endless.

The primary reason for buying a car is usually that it can successfully take you from A to B. The speed comfort and cost may change, but if the vehicle looks and feels great and just sits on a driveway, then choosing to invest in a bus pass might be a better decision.

When it comes to making the choice of how to spend our money, what is our primary motivation? Is it practicality or beauty? Function or design? Or is just about the price?

Although in the commercial world there is often a distinction made between cost and looks – some companies actually stress one over the other or that their product straddles both – there doesn’t have to be dividing line made between the two. God would suggest that there is a another way.

Christians understand that God sees value differently. For him, it’s determined neither by usefulness of attractiveness. It’s a belief that all living things have worth by virtue of that life itself. And from the one who created it in the first place, who’d expect anything else?

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