Summary: Contentment is an expression of communion with Christ and a reliance on His power and provision to prevail in all life situations.
Let’s begin this morning with a quick question. Raise your hand if you have had coffee from Starbuck’s in the past 2 weeks. Me too. Well I want to tell you that I am mad at Starbuck’s. I have drank coffee for years and been content with Maxwell House or Folgers. I was content to brew a cup coffee in the morning, dump some sugar and creamer in it and sit back and enjoy. I even looked forward to the smell of the coffee when I woke up in the mornings. Then I re-discovered Starbuck’s.
When we moved to Springfield (Northern VA)I discovered a Starbuck’s coffee shop between the church and my home. Since that time I am sad to say that terms like “Grande” and “Venti” and “Caramel Macchiato Latte” have become a normal part of my vocabulary. In fact, I planning a new website called MarkQuitsStarbucks.com that will chronicle my attempt to break my addiction to Starbuck’s.
You see, I was content with Folgers until I discovered Starbuck’s. Starbuck’s taught me to be discontent so that they could re-define contentment for me as a $3.50 latte or a $1.40 cup of American Blend coffee. Living in a state of contentment can be quite a challenge for Christ-followers in our day. Consider these statistics.
1. According to TIME Magazine, approximately 1.4 billion credit card offers are mailed every 3 months in America. That means that the average household receives about 6 offers every month. (TIME-Oct 18, 2004). The result? A seduction to a life style described in articles like “Teens Are Buying Now, Paying Later” in a recent issue of Plugged In (October 2004).
2. America has 4.5% of the world’s population but purchases 45% of the global toy production. A recent U.S. News & World Report article stated that “26% of kids 2 and under have a TV in their room and the average American child sees some 40,000 commercials a year. That in turn helps explain why the United Sates, with 4.5% of the world’s population, buys 45% of the global toy production…Somewhere along the way we decided that one American Girl doll or one Thomas the Tank Engine was simply not enough. But in this land of plenty, many of us are overwhelmed by our kid’s possessions.” (September 12, 2004, Kid Power).
Marketing to children has become so lucrative that marketing specialist have created new terminology and strategies to get children and parents to pony up for more stuff. For instance: (see US News article)
• Nag Factor; Shut-Up Toys; Transtoying
3. Another U.S. News & World Report article of several years ago stated that the average American needs 50%-100% more money than they currently have in order to fulfill their American dream.
4. Now just in case you are not fully convinced that we American’s have a problem with contentment let me you one more example...toilets. According to CNN/Money, it seems that a Japanese toilet maker is introducing a $5,000 toilet to the US market. This is no Green Acres outhouse men and women. This baby features a wireless remote to raise and lower the seat so you don’t have to actually touch it. It has a deodorizer, a warm-air dryer and options for setting water temperature and…you ready for this…a massaging option.