What about Contentment?

Have you, have you, have you? Everyone else is. You know you’re really missing out unless you do. Do what? you ask. Vote in the July CSFF Top Blogger poll! All you need to do is click on the links for those eligible, then decide which you believe wrote the most creative, thought-provoking posts, and VOTE. Don’t be left out! Be a part of selecting the winner of this prestigious award. But don’t wait! Time is running out!

So how did I do?

Don’t get me wrong. I really do want people to vote in the poll, but I wanted to use the announcement to make a point. Advertisers use a certain kind of pressure to make people think they need to get in on the action. It could be the “everyone’s doing it” tactic or it could be the “special people like you” angle. It could be the entitlement approach, and any of them can be coupled with the “limited time only” call to immediate action.

The common thread in salesmanship is usually the creation of a sense of need. And the truth is, contented people aren’t aware of need. Hence, much of advertisement exists to create disquiet. We might have a perfectly good TV or cell phone or pair of jeans, but a newer, fancier, better model comes to a store near you, and advertisers tell us we need that newer model. We deserve it.

Commercialism is all around us, and to a certain extent we have grown jaded. Perhaps that makes us think we are immune. Instead, I believe advertisements play a big part in conveying values. Conveying and constructing. After all, the making of commercials is big business. What works and what doesn’t is studied and re-studied.

So in part, the you deserve it line I discussed yesterday is a reflection of what society wants to hear. But it also helps to establish that vein of thinking as part of a society’s philosophical outlook.

But here’s the point. The Bible says, Godliness with contentment is great gain. That I am to seek God’s kingdom and let Him add to me what I need. That I am to set my mind on things above.

If I am instead fixated upon what I deserve according to the media, I am either discontented (I don’t have it and I deserve it; somebody is to blame!), or I am preoccupied with getting what I now know I deserve. I neglect time with God and maybe time with family. I am focused on Things.

The apostle Paul said he was content when he had plenty and when he was in want. Content in want. Content not having it all. How can this be?

If I believe God gives me what He wants to give me, then I can be content, even as a child can be content when her mother says no to a candy bar ten minutes before dinner.

The mother isn’t withholding the candy bar to harm the child or to punish her. She is withholding it because the candy bar would spoil the girl’s appetite for the nutritious food she needs. The withholding is an act of love coming from wisdom.

The child may still want that candy, but she can be content because she trusts her mom.

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 10:53 am  Comments (4)  
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