The other day Beve returned the TV the kids and I bought him for Christmas. The reason? He could buy a larger HD TV for a mere 20 dollars more, if he bought the floor model. And he couldn't resist this deal. Beve loves deals, and loves returning things almost as much. He's become quite the fan of HD TV since Christmas, will watch practically anything, as long as it's HD. Now I thought the 37 inch was plenty large enough for our needs, just the right size for the space. But "Bigger is Better" appears to have ruled the day.
Bigger is better...our world would tell us that this is a truth is most things. Bigger houses, cars, TVs. Bigger closets, bathrooms, kitchens. Sure, with the economic and energy crises, we've begun to size down, but we Americans still bend toward bigger.
And we envy those who have bigger, or at least better, toys, etc. than we have. I had a conversation with my BB (baby brother) today about this very issue. He was struggling with the truth that he gets jealous of others who have more money, better jobs, nicer cars than he does. He really hates that this is true about himself. I told him that it's human nature to want things for ourselves. It's a symptom of sin. However, it's also true that the attaining of 'things' inflates our desire for more and better. And we have to recognize that God doesn't give a rip about our stuff. His only concern is for us, and making us little Hims. I was just writing about this the other day--the idea that what we need is for Him to do whatever it takes to make us like Him. Remember?
I told Beve about my conversation with BB, and he said, "It's about contentment." And as I turned off my bedside light just now, I thought of the wisdom of that diagnosis. Contentment. Being satisfied with this life--my life--as it has been given by God. Not fitting our life rafts (as the old tract goes) with gadgets and gizmos, not being weighed down by the accumulating of the world's goods, but being glad to simply be on the life raft, and free to pull others aboard. That's contentment. To do, be, live as He bids--no matter what our neighbors' rafts look like. And be satisfied with what He gives.
Last week in LA, I got on the hotel's elevator with a couple of men. One of them manned the floor punches, and when we'd each told him the numbers of our floors, I said, "I win!" "What?" he asked. "I'll be the first one out," I answered. "Everything's a competition." Both the men laughed. "Like 'he who dies with the most toys wins?" the button-pusher asked. "No, he who lives with the most toys. When you die, it's all the same how many toys you do or do not have." "I never thought of it that way," the other (younger!) man commented.
And that's the bottom line. It doesn't matter what I own, what kind of car I drive, or how much I pay for my jeans. I won't win any prizes the only place I care about winning prizes by hoarding my treasures, or amassing more. The only 'bigger is better' reality is that God is bigger and He's making me better (to be a little punny!). Everything else is going to burn. It's what really lasts that counts.
Do I ever sound like a broken record? I feel like it. I feel like God has to be a broken record with me in order for me to get it. Contentment--maybe it's a lifelong battle to get there.