Saturday, January 16, 2010

Be Content!

Here's a short post for the short-attention span people struggling through the more lengthy love posts.

"3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths" (Genesis 3:1-7)

"Mom never let's me do anything." If you have kids, you've probably heard it or something like it. If you've been a kid, you've undoubtedly said it yourself. Here's a typical conversation for those who are totally unfamiliar with this statement:

Tommy: "Mom, can I go to Billy's party on Friday?"
Tommy's mom: "Are his parents going to be home?"
Tommy: "Not sure about that, but there's going to be girls there."
Tommy's mom: "I'm going to have to say no to that."
Tommy: "You guys never let me do anything!" (As he storms off to his room.)

Of course, Tommy is lying in his last statement. It's not that his mom never let's him do anything. It's just that she didn't let him do that one thing. But in Tommy's mind, that one thing is all that matters at the moment. He isn't content with his current life-circumstances. He wants Billy's party and the girls who will be there. In addition, in Tommy's mind, if his mother has habitually said no to his requests, then to Tommy, it's going to feel like his mother never let's him do anything, even though she may let him do all sorts of things he doesn't appreciate.

This is the same concept taking place in the text I quoted above from Genesis. In this account of "the Fall" we read that the serpent provokes discontent in Eve. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Let me translate that: "God never lets you do anything!" Notice, Eve's answer. She informs the serpent that God hasn't forbidden everything. There are plenty of wonderful trees in the Garden to eat from. But then the one she isn't allowed to eat from takes center-stage in her mind. Eventually she agrees with the serpent that God doesn't let her do anything. He's holding out on her and Adam. And like a spoiled child, she ate the fruit along with Adam, they both realized they made a mistake and tried to fix it themselves. We do the same thing all the time.

"There's nothing in the house to eat." Really? Nothing at all? Or is there nothing to satisfy your craving for a particular thing?

"You're always putting me down." Really? All the time? Or is that just what sticks out because it doesn't satisfy your craving for honor?

"We can't go anywhere on twenty bucks." Really? Or is it that you can't go to that one place you had your heart set on?

"We never get any breaks." Really? Or is it that you don't get the kind of breaks you think you have coming?

Do you get the picture? If we're honest, we have to admit that we're often like Tommy or the serpent or Eve. How often do we let our minds skip right over a hundred blessings and zoom in on the one thing that we don't have or can't have? Then we interpret our entire life through that one thing that we're lacking? It's not so much that we're dissed as discontent. You don't have to have everything. You don't have to get your way all the time. Just be content!

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