Friday, December 06, 2013

Come, Now Is the Time to Behold Him

Black-capped chickadee,
on our back deck

Thomas Merton writes:

"If we are fools enough to remain at the mercy of the people who want to sell us happiness, it will be impossible for us ever to be content with anything. How would they profit if we became content? We would no longer need their new product. The last thing the salesman wants is for the buyer to become content. You are of no use in our affluent society unless you are always just about to grasp what you never have." (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, 86)

Come, now is the time to purchase. And be discontent.

On the other hand, Paul writes, in Philippians 4:12 - I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

He writes out of a simple, impoverished context. Paul did not have a closet full of clothes, a garage full of toys, a refrigerator filled with food, and a 401K. "Plenty" for Paul was our "in need." "In need" for Paul was our destituteness. But he had learned some things. One was "the secret of being content in any and every situation."

Contentment, for Paul, was not contingent on economic security or material possessions. He experienced contentment, whatever the situation. Real contentment is not circumstance-bound. I'd like that, wouldn't you? What's the secret?

It's an open secret that Paul found strength and contentment in Christ, the hope of glory, within. Having Christ within implies contentment and satisfaction. What could be greater than internalizing the Lord of heaven and earth? The "world" works hard to get us to forget this.

This season, remember.

Be not distracted.

Come, now is the time to behold Him.