Slightly over a month ago, due to multitasking with a cell phone while walking in a parking lot (not a good combination), I found myself in a Verizon store. That’s right – I had broken the six-year old worn out phone and was looking for a replacement. Though I was disappointed at the circumstances, God used this scenario to clearly teach me something: The things that we want are not necessarily the things that we need.
Though we may want the latest iPhone upgrade, a 100” flat screen TV, a 15th generation iPod Touch, and a 2016 model BMW convertible, that does NOT mean we need those things. They are only wants; they are simply desires; they are merely items on our “wish list”. We do not need these things to live. And yet, as I contemplated getting a new phone, I realized we live in a society that continually tells us, “You need this!”
The world is screaming out for our attention. If you spend one short minute looking through the ads stuffed in your mailbox, you will soon find out this fact. Every newspaper, every billboard, every commercial, everywhere the world is able to grab at our attention, it proclaims all the things we can’t do without, all the things we just have to have, all the things that give us satisfaction. Especially during this Christmas season, as stores all over the place go crazy over competing, marketing, selling, and gaining, it is easy to get sucked into this mentality.
Take a moment in the next week to step back from the hustle and bustle going on all around you. Before you go shopping at the nearby Mac Mall, before you spend hours fighting for a parking spot, waiting in long lines, pushing your way through crowds, and drying up all the money in your bank account, before you are disappointed by what you didn’t get on your wish list, consider these words from the Apostle Paul: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Let me remind you: this was a man who was stoned, who was beaten, who was imprisoned, who was despised, and who was persecuted for Jesus Christ. Paul was not living the American dream as he wrote this book of the Bible – it was while he lived in a Roman dungeon, of all places, he mentions he has learned to be content! How much more so should we not be content with such things we already have and with the blessings God has already so graciously showered upon us?
This doesn’t’t mean it is wrong to ask for or want to receive presents at Christmas. This is simply a change of mindset. Remember: God has already given us everything that we need for life and godliness. And though there are some items we would like to have, God did not create us to be desperate for material items – for things moths and rust destroy and thieves steal. Instead, God made us to long for Him first and foremost – to desire Him above all things – so much so that even if we were stripped of all our “must-have” stuff and thrown into a dark prison cell, we would, like Paul, rejoice in the Lord always because He is the ONLY thing that we absolutely MUST have.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 ESV