Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Contentment -- Priceless

I know you've seen them -- those commercials for Visa.

  • New shoes -- $20
  • New dress -- $75
  • New hairstyle with highlights -- $100
  • Memories to last a lifetime -- Priceless.
Visa has our number. If $200 can promise something that is priceless, and will last a lifetime, of course we are going to buy.

When I was in college, I attended InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's School of Leadership Training. One of the sessions was actually on advertising and all the subtle meanings that are played out before our eyes and that we buy hook, line, and singer. Some of them were dated but some of you might remember them. The question that was raised was, "It looks like they are selling coffee, but what are they really selling?"
  • Early morning sunrise. A farm. A colt. A coffee pot -- Folgers, good to the last drop. (Selling peace and an idyllic life that no one I know lives.)
  • Cute kid singing, "I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener, 'cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner, everyone would be in love with me." (Selling the idea that everyone should love us.)
  • Light bulbs, computers, a vast array of progress -- GE, we bring good things to life. (Selling that all these things are at the heart of what is good in life.)
  • And then the Marlboro Man and the ultra thin model and the red corvette selling ideas of how we need to look and act and the car we need to own to really be someone.
Really, what advertisers prey on is instilling in us at a young age (think Saturday morning cartoons) is sense of discontent. Our society trains us to think that I want is synonymous with I need. The truth is that I want a lot of things. I need just a few -- food, shelter, safety, etc. So much of what we have is a luxury that once we become accustomed to it, we think it falls into the need category instead of a want and lucky to have had kind of thing.

So, I've been thinking about this the last few days. I've found myself trying to think of ways to pare down my monthly expenses. I don't like feeling strapped. (I don't suppose anyone does.) How interesting to face the reality that much of my life is made up of indulgences, luxuries that I now think I need. I find myself resistant to cutting them and looking at others and saying, "But they have X, Y, Z so I should have it too!" Not true.

But envy breeds discontentment.

So, I have to catch myself. What do I need? What if my wants lined up with my needs and not with what society says? What if my heart was fixed on God so that He was all I wanted? What if my heart was set like David's in Psalm 27:4?

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

That would be true contentment. That would be priceless. Sorry Visa, a credit card isn't buying that now or ever. It's a free gift to those who set the eyes of their hearts on the Lord. Though, sometimes it takes effort to focus on that.

God, show me the pricelessness of conentment in You.



Joyful said...

Ah...to know the contentment that can only be found in Him.

Lord, replace my restlessness with Your rest and may I be completely satisfied in You.


Taking Heart said...

Stopping by via internet cafe... i love how your challenge to ask God to overwhelm my circumstances! Wow! He is my PORTION. And much, much more. Thank for sharing.