Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I WANT, I WANT, I WANT

What a world we live in today!  A world, but especially a nation, the U.S., where companies perfect their skill at convincing you that their product or service is something you can't live without.  The successful "fisherman" of a company gets the best of us to say to them "I want, I want, I want" and I wanted it yesterday and on sale.

Things. Our world is populated by physical, material things.  Because as the song goes, "We are living in a material world...", except I'm not a girl and I'm praying I'm not materialistic.  Of course the world has been this way for some time now - trying to outdo the last latest and greatest gadget or gismo, but if you can afford to give your condition some time, even the latest and greatest will be outdated soon and the next in line will be pushed even harder.

There is something to be said about always having to have.  There is a void there that someone is trying to fill.  Always jumping to the next new car or new house or the desire of more lavish amounts of money itself will never satisfy the hunger monster of this sort.  BUT GOD!  With the LORD's help this monster can be overcome with the spirit of contentment.

Here is a prayer you do not hear very often..."LORD...give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." - Proverbs 30:8-9.  Which flows nicely with Matthew 6:11 - "Give us today our daily bread".  The Proverbs passage is probably one of the best descriptions of contentment that I have seen so far, an excellent definition.

The following are some additional verses that speak to being content and living the content life.

Luke 3:14 - "Then some soldiers asked him [John the Baptist], 'And what should we do?' He replied, 'Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay.' " Here, I believe, John was teaching it is better to be satisfied and thankful and content with what you have.  However, if you are seeking advancement within your ranks don't use the methods of extortion or false accusations to get there.

Philippians 4:11-12 - "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."  It takes experience(s).  It takes life and the living thereof to know as Paul did - the surplus and the lack on the journey.  It evidently takes time to work out this truth and find the balance that works best.

1 Timothy 6:8 -  "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.The essentials.  If my memory serves me right, Paul was a tent maker and he would have relied on this skill and his LORD to provide money to grant the needs (food and clothing) in his life.  His fellow believers helped him in the way of shelter some of the time.  But even when he was shelterless, God was there and Paul was content.

1 Timothy 6:10 -  "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."  And so we come to it.  Here we have one of the most famous verses about money, if not the most famous, in Scripture.  This verse simply stated - misplaced life emphasis, focus, and/or trust will put you in a world of hurt and one of those is the love of money.  It is sad that society has dictated that money rules instead of relationships, but we could change it around if we wanted to, with God's help.  But there are so many of us so enamored with money that we treat it better than some relationships.  Think about it.  You can use and abuse money and it doesn't talk back, well at least verbally.  You get to do whatever you want to it, whenever you want.  For the holder, no matter how much you may have, money is an instant "Genie in the Bottle" god.  And boy does this god have a hold over many people.  You see it everywhere - in sports, the business world, government, etc...  But just to drive home the point further here is another verse that supports our famous 1 Timothy 6:10 passage.

Hebrews 13:5 -  "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' " Wow!  Now this warning and instruction then comes with a reinstatement of God's promise.  I love to hear God's promises read aloud.  I also love to pray them to Him and remind Him of them (even though He might not need that, I declare it out loud and think it is more for me and my faith).  Read from "God has said,..." onward out loud.  Get it in your spirit.  God is not going to forsake you.  He is your and my provider -  "for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills" (Ps. 50:10). 

If everything is His to begin with then He should know what is good for us and what is bad for us.  God was gracious enough to tell us that "the love of money" is trouble while being content with what you have is His way for me and you to live.  Even praying for a huge monetary blessing I have not found to be necessary because Christian leaders have still misused, misplaced, mis-focused these monies on other things than what they promised the LORD (and sometimes publicly).  We try to add, "Oh, well, I would never do that!  I would be an excellent steward of God's funds and spend it only where He lead me."  Famous last words.  Hey, here's a personal note for you.  I'm not rich, by what this country deems rich, I'm even struggling somewhat, but I have perspective.  I'm in this journey of life learning to be content.  Learning to lean.  That sounds like a song...
Chorus
Learning to lean
Learning to lean,
I'm learning to lean on Jesus
Finding more power than I've ever dreamed
I'm learning to lean on Jesus.
(repeat)

Sad broken hearted, at an alter I knelt
I found peace that was so serene
And all that He asks is a child like trust
And a heart that is learning to lean
(Chorus)


So who/what are you leaning on?  Who/what are you trusting in?  Where is your focus?  Money?  That goes the way of the mothball and will never satisfy.  Jesus?  Right answer.  No multiple choice in this one.  Redirect your time and energies to relationship.  But not just any relationship.  Cultivate the one, if you have it, with Christ - "and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).  It's all about relationship.