On a radio show offering advice about money management, a caller asked the host why he so often warns about inevitable recession while the economy is robust.
“Because if all I ever offered was good news, you listeners would switch to music,” he replied.
Thus reminded that a primary purpose for advertising and talk radio is to elevate listener discontent for the “solutions” and products being promoted, I decided to skip a step and switch right to music.
The lyrics to Matt Maher’s worship song “Your Grace is Enough” came to mind.
“You wrestle with the sinner’s restless heart. You lead us by still waters into mercy…You use the weak to lead the strong…(When) Your grace is enough, heaven reaches out to us.”
Still waters as a remedy for restlessness. Hit pause and switch to music.
In her 2002 memoir book, “Girl Meets God,” author Lauren Winner recounts a day when she was feeling generally upset. Picking up a favorite icon card adorned with Rublev’s Christ, she recounts her thoughts.
“You are supposed to be enough,” she tells the icon…”Even if I never again …. feel happy for one more minute, that you came to earth is supposed to be enough.”
She writes how she glared at the icon for a while before an assurance rose in her that Christ really was enough. Then in the next moment she added, “But I really hope (that realization) doesn’t have to sustain me.”
I bolded Winner’s But to draw your attention to the premise that our troubles begin with our Buts. While both Winner and I are Christians, we suffer discontent because we harbor Buts – desiring something other than Christ. Instead of switching to music, we keep listening to all the reasons we should be discontented.
The country’s radio hosts are ranting this week about recent violence in Orlando, Florida where 50 people were murdered in two incidents. A popular outcry has been, “Make love, not hate.”
“What kind of love?” I want to ask.
“…to love somebody is to be committed to helping them obey God,” offered Miles McPherson in his book, “I don’t want your sex for now.” Love’s opposite is lust, not hate.
“Lust desires to please self at the expense of others because lust wants to get. On the other hand, love desires to please others at the expense of self. Love wants to give.”
As much as I appreciate McPherson contrasting love with lust, his guidance about being committed to helping someone obey God is particularly potent. Whereas the lust and love quotient invites debate about what is best or most pleasing for self or others, obedience keeps God at the center. We have to start with knowing what obedience to God looks like.
“…godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6, NIV)
How about starting with what is meant by godliness?
“Girl Meets God” by Lauren Winner
“I don’t want your sex for now” by Miles McPherson