If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it? Forget that, a million dollars doesn’t go as far these days. If you had $10 million, what would you spend it on? Let’s say you had five minutes to decide: whatever you wrote on a piece of paper, you could spend the $10 million on. However, the difference between the cost of your list and the $10 million would be taken away. I believe in you. You could come up with a list. Not a penny would be wasted. Why is that? Because most of us have spent one time or another dreaming about what we would do if we had more money. Our problem is contentment.
Let’s talk about Netflix. Be honest, if you have had Netflix, you have done what is called binge watching. Whether over a weekend or over two or three months, you have torn through a series. I remember doing this with Lost right after Jocelyn was born. What’s so great about Netflix? There are no commercials. How can you beat the fact that your show isn’t interrupted. Having no commercials gives us a blessing in life. Someone not trying to throw their product down our throats while being entertained is great.
Recently, before Christmas, Jocelyn was talking to me about something she saw at grandma’s house on a commercial. I explained to her that she really didn’t want that toy, the commercial just told her that she wanted that toy. I probably then explained to her how she has toys now that she doesn’t even play with. She wanted it so badly, I can’t remember what the toy was, and guess what, after that conversation she didn’t remember either.
While I’m not sure that my six year old grasped the depth of commercialism, I planted a seed in her head, or at least attempted to. The seed was, “You have what you want, until you see someone else with something, then you want that.” Are we discontent because we are poor? Not always. The Pew Research Center (PRC) in 2015 conducted a study of how much money families make around the globe. They released an article, “How Americans Compare with the Global Middle Class.” In it it says that, “In 2011, the official poverty line in the U.S. was $23,021 for a family of four. This means that many Americans who are poor by the U.S. standard would be middle income by the global standard. What is considered poor here is a level of income still NOT AVAILABLE to most people globally.”
Now I realize that it is more expensive to live in the United States than other poorer parts of the world. The fact is though, we are, on average one of the richest nations in the history of the world. We then still go around saying, “I want more, I want more” like a bunch of zombies.
Let’s dig into some more numbers. These may be a a few years old, but they tell the story nonetheless. According to Angela Johnson of CNN Money, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Many have little or no emergency fund, and 22% of us have less than $100 in emergency savings. This sounds bad right? But let’s put it in perspective. According to Brendan James of the International Business Times, 83% of Americans still pay for TV. The PRC says that nearly two thirds have a smartphone, and the Rasmussen Reports say that 57% say they are dining out at least once a week.
The reality for most Americans is not a money problem, but a contentment problem. Why do we have a contentment problem? I would argue that one of the main reasons for this is that we don’t know where our true value lies or what is really valuable in life. We place things ahead of God and ahead of people. Let’s reflect the heart attitude of the apostle Paul when it comes to contentment. “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” I Timothy 6:6-7
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, Pa 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.