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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It seems like we are never satisfied. At least, if you looked at most of our Christmas lists, you would get that impression. Take my kids for example. I am the kind of guy who likes to get things done--no dilly-dallying (I am thoroughly convinced that some of you come here daily to figure out what new word I'm going to throw at you. Well, there it is.) I like to get my Christmas shopping done early. In fact, there have been years where I was done with my shopping by the end of August. That's right, not a typo, by August.

Then my kids got older (I'm coming back to my point about their Christmas list now). I learned that their "list" is constantly morphing. It may be one thing this week and a completely different thing next week, especially now that they are into technical things.

But you and I know that satisfaction doesn't come from always wanting more and never being content with what we have. Or do we? Maybe our lists aren't so different from the kids.

God taught us to be grateful and thankful in all things. Take Jesus for example. You remember the story where Jesus fed 5,000 (and you thought your Christmas parties were large?). The story goes that the disciples were in a panic because there were over 5,000 men and even more women and children. And they were hungry!! Jesus tells them to gather what food they have. As the disciples come back to Jesus with five loaves of bread and two fish, what do we hear them say, "This isn't enough. We need more." Instead of looking at what they had and being thankful, they looked at what they didn't have and whined.

Not Jesus. The Bible says that He gave thanks, broke the bread and fish, fed 5,000 plus people and then collected 12 bags of leftovers!! Now, you might say, "Well, of course. It was Jesus. Why wouldn't He be content? I would have panicked, too, with all those people there." But catch these two very important points:
  1. Jesus didn't pray to thank Himself for the food. He prayed to thank God the Father. God is still God. He is still in the business of providing. He has never left His children going without what they needed if they just trusted Him. God still does that for us today. Jesus knew this. Jesus practiced this and believed it with all His heart. Five thousand plus people (and 12 dumbfounded disciples) saw this truth displayed first hand. That leads to the second point...
  2. Mark 6:42 says, "They all ate and were satisfied..." Isn't that amazing? Satisfaction was found, not in wanting more, but in being thankful for what was already in hand.

Let me put it another way. Just this morning I was reading an article on millionaires in America and the lifestyle choices that made them who they are. You know what the number one suggestion of every one of these millionaires was? Stop spending! That's right. Stop spending. Stop wanting more. Stop believing that something else can bring more happiness. Being content.

I guess this is a long way of saying some really important things. Be thankful for what you have. Be content with what's in hand. Get great joy from relationships and not products. And be surprised by two things this Christmas--how quickly you finish your shopping and how full your heart really is the day after your Christmas is over.

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