DayBreaks for 8/09/17: ‘Tis Foolishness
From the DayBreaks archive, 8/7/2007:
I’ve been thinking about contentment lately. Mind you, I’m not content with my thinking on the topic! But I’m trying to learn to be more content in my station in life in various venues, but especially in the area of possessions. It seems that much of what we struggle with in this world as far as contentment goes has to do with things – stuff – possessions.
I recall when our kids were little. They’d hear about a new toy in a Happy Meal, or a new video game, or some new action hero figure, and they would ask for it. Sometimes I gave it to them, sometimes not. My decision certainly wasn’t all based on “need” – they really didn’t need any of it. Sometimes I withheld the gift solely to help them learn lessons related to happiness and contentment. Sometimes, if they really wanted something, they’d say words to this effect: “If you get it for me, I promise I won’t ever ask for another thing, ever!!!!” Yeah, right.
Of course, none of us adults would be so silly as to think that a change in circumstances or possessions would bring lasting contentment, would we? Maybe not. Someone once said that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. There’s more truth to that than I want to admit. In Love Beyond Reason, John Ortberg observes: “All day long we are bombarded with messages that seek to persuade us of two things:
- That we are (or ought to be) discontented, and
- That contentment is only one step (or change or purchase) away.”
These two things are at the heart of all marketing. They try to make us believe that the only thing that stands between us and the girl or guy of our dreams is our toothpaste (as if all our other problems were already fixed!) – and that if we buy a certain brand of toothpaste, we’ll get that girl or guy and live “happily ever after.” We may have jobs that we’re competent at and that we love, but the promise and allure of “more money” makes us discontent and leads us to jump ship into a position that will mean we sacrifice family time or values. That one new car may seem like a siren calling your name – and if you had it, you just know you’d be forever happy.
It’s all a pack of lies. I don’t know how else to put it. Doesn’t even your own experience and life tell you that such marketing drivel is not true? The pursuit of such things, indeed of happiness in this world, is trivial pursuit. The pursuit of the Kingdom of God bears everlasting dividends, and the promise of happiness and joy that is not made by marketers who have something to gain, but by God, who can’t gain a single thing from us. How much better for us to seek first His Kingdom and Righteousness…and in due time, all that He has will be ours!
1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV) – But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
PRAYER: Father, we struggle to find contentment, thinking we can find it in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. Teach us to be content with what we have in this world, but to never be content in how much we have of You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>