Trusting the Reviews

–Taylor Stichler, October 9, 2021. Have you ever read the reviews of a place on Google or Yelp before? We live in this incredible time where we have deducted everything we need to know about a restaurant, store, business, or product to a five star rating system. I don’t know about you, but before I buy anything on Amazon or try a new restaurant I go straight to the reviews. It’s helpful to know what other people have to say about something you have never experienced before. Companies that sell things on Amazon have discovered the power that positive and negative reviews have on their ability to sell products. Many times when you buy things on Amazon there is a request or even an incentive like a gift card or coupon to go and leave the company or product a good review. 

I recently bought some patio furniture on Amazon for our house. It was the end of the summer and we wanted to see if we could get a good deal on a set. I found a set that looked pretty nice, was not very expensive to begin with, and was on sale! I thought this was a win-win-win situation. That was until I looked at the reviews. This patio furniture had barely managed to even receive two stars. After reading the reviews it was pretty clear why, everyone had mentioned in their review how hard it was to assemble. I’ve put together my fair share of IKEA furniture in my lifetime, so I figured how could this patio furniture be any harder than that. I went ahead and ordered it thinking that everyone who left the bad reviews simply didn’t know how to assemble furniture and that I was far superior to them in my cheap furniture building skills. I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

When the patio set arrived, it was in a box not much larger than a microwave. I was sure that there had to be more boxes, but once I opened it I realized that it indeed was all my patio furniture, just in a million pieces! I dumped it all out on the floor in search of the instruction packet. I found the packet which turned out to be only one page that had the instructions printed on the front and the back. Not only were the instructions not that detailed, you could tell that they were simply translated from a different language into english. They made no sense whatsoever, but I was determined to get my new patio set built! Once I started to assemble the first chair in the set it was pretty clear that some of the screws were not going to line up at all. I quickly learned that I was going to have to literally bend the frame of the chair to make everything line up. After over an hour, a few stripped screws, some bent chair frames, and a lot of frustration, I finally had one of the chairs built! Now I only had three more chairs and a table to build.

The moral of the story is that not only should you read the reviews of something before you buy it, you should probably trust that those reviews are accurate. I always wonder what our lives would be like if we walked around with a five star rating above our heads. How do others view me? What would people’s reviews say about who I am and more importantly who I say I am, a follower of Christ? I know in my heart that I love Jesus, but does that reflect to others on how I outwardly live my life?

As we start this next week in the Red Letter Challenge, we are focusing on serving. We will learn how Jesus first served us, so how can we not love and serve others? Our love and service to others is not what saves us, but instead is a fruit that bears itself through our salvation in Christ! If I was to read the reviews people had of me, I would hope they would talk about the love I have for others. However, I know I fail at this all the time! I often don’t want to serve anyone but myself. I know we can all be doing more to love our neighbors and serve them, as Christ has called us to do. I am so excited to see what God has in store for this week for all of us doing this challenge! 

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

1 Peter 4:10-11