I celebrated another birthday yesterday, and once again when my family began asking me several weeks ago about my wish list, I couldn't think of a single thing I wanted. Not one.
Gathered around the table a week or so ago, one of my daughters pointed out that she had almost 10 things on her wish list. "I have everything I have ever wanted and more," I explained. "I have Daddy, you guys, some great friends, a wonderful church, a roof over my head, and plenty of food to eat. What else could I possibly want?"
I've tried so hard to impart to my children attitudes that are in stark contrast to the consumerism that bombards us all daily. From every direction come messages that we must have have the best! the prettiest! the newest! the fastest! the coolest! the most technologically sophiscated! the most expensive! stuff available. No sooner do we get one new gadget out of the box and on its charger before something newer hits the market and suddenly the thing we have has lost its luster. It is no longer desirable to us, because our friend has something we regard as nicer.
What a trap.
Avoiding those messages is one of the primary reasons the televisions in our home stay off most of the time. I want my children to learn contentment. The kind that Paul wrote about in Philippians 4:10-14.
"I'm glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess ... Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am" (The Message).
You can imagine my joy when last night before dinner, G-Man wanted to ask the blessing, and somewhere in the middle of it, he spoke these words: "And God, bless all the poor people and let them be rich just like we are. Give them jobs and food and money and a place to live."
May we all be filled to overflowing today with a sense of just how filthy stinkin' rich we really are. Not because our bank accounts say we are, but because of all that has been lavished upon us by God, the One who makes us who we are.