An Invitation to Contentment
There was a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. “Why aren’t you out there fishing?” he asked. The fisherman answered “Because I’ve caught enough fish for today.” The rich man asked, “Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?” The fisherman answers the question with a question, “”What would I do with them?” “You could earn more money,” came the impatient replay, “and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me.” The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?” “You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist. “What do you think I’m doing now?” the fisherman replied as he looked placidly out to sea.
As Americans, we are surrounded by discontentment. We don't have to go very far to look for someone striving to get more or better of something. We can blame advertising all we want but the appeal of advertising only exists because the desire to have was first there. We think that if the stars align just the right way, if we find the right living situation, we will finally be happy. We will be content. But we never quite get there.
So we sue one another, divorce one another, and spend money at an unprecedented rate. The indebted life is the new normal life as everyone pursues the "better." But even large settlements from lawsuits and winning the jackpot or lottery cannot buy happiness. It is not the "better" that we all pursue.
The "better" that we are looking for is contentment. True contentment.
We have all bought into the lie, at one point or another, that "things" can bring us contentment. However, the only thing that can truly bring us contentment is God. So God invites us to give the things we have - even the good things.. the things that are "rightfully" ours (because He "gave" them to us) - for the "better." We, in the church, call this "fasting."
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a 40-day fasting period (excluding Sundays) to meditate on the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus. I believe that God is inviting those who know and love Jesus to fast, giving up a good thing for the sake of the better; to realign themselves with what God is wanting to do in, around, and though their lives. So, I encourage you - take a moment to pray today and listen for God's invitation.
Father, I pray for those who are fasting this Lent season. I pray that they would find true contentment in your presence, your love, and even in your challenges. Thank you for always inviting us into the better. Amen.