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Discontent: The Tool of the Salesman

This week, Pastor Tom talked about the fact that God is Provider. The idea this week that resonated with me was how our culture sells discontentment. A few years ago, I found myself becoming influenced by the culture around me. Through social media, I was continually hearing the message that what I had wasn't good enough. After a lot of prayer and thought, I wrote a short book on applying the wisdom of Proverbs to social media. This is an excerpt from the chapter on covetousness:

"Discontentment is the tool of the salesman. What you have just isn't good enough. Some would argue that it is the fault of capitalism, others would say it is an issue isolated to the United States and our consumption of consumables. The reality though is that the unguarded heart becomes discontent quite easily. Even Adam and Eve became discontent with what they had been given to eat.

We want bigger unless we want smaller. Sometimes we want shiny, other times, no shine. We want color or monochrome, vintage or modern, trendy or experimental. The list of desires goes on an on, and fluctuates from season to season. Once we get what we want, our heart is free to start wanting something else.

As a kid, I loved playing video games. For my birthday one year, I desperately wanted the latest video game system. I knew that once I had the system, all would be well in my pre-teen world. I was thrilled when I got it for my birthday. My troubles were gone! I had the desire of my heart!!

The first thing I did was call my best friend. We loved playing video games together. So he came over and we both delighted in the new addition. Until we realized it only came with one controller. That was a drag. But once I got another controller...THEN everything was great!

Oh, except the game that came with the system was more of a “take turns” kind of game rather than a “both play at the same time” kind of game. So I needed another game too. It was becoming quite clear that I couldn't afford this level of contentment.

It didn't take me long to recognize the pattern. Once you get the desire of your heart, your heart finds something else to desire. Or, as I like to say when cutting down weeds in my yard, “once I cut down the tallest, ugliest weed in my yard, I realize there is now a new tallest, ugliest weed in my yard.”

The cycle of covetousness will never end as long as we seek satisfaction from something (or someone) other than Christ."

As Tom talked through how discontentment impacts our effectiveness in reaching our world, something clicked. Discontentment is a result of us focusing on something other than God.

Culture uses tricks like 'limited quantity' and 'sale ends soon' to force us to act. If we don't act now, we will miss out on an amazing opportunity. But what is really being communicated isn't that we are going to miss a sale. Our culture is really asking us: "how satisfied are you with what God has provided you?". 

One of the points Tom charged us with this weekend is the same I would leave you with: determine not to be seduced. Our culture uses a lot of tactics to breed discontentment in our hearts. If you resist, you will find a contentment that can't be purchased. Not by you, anyway.