Are you happy with how your life has turned out? Satisfied? Content? Or do you, like so many others, feel there is something missing? Marketers and manufacturers would have you to believe that, indeed, you are dissatisfied with your life as you are currently living it. Furthermore, they also want to convince you that they have just the thing to relieve your dissatisfaction and give you joy. Any guesses as to what it might be?
Our society is able to sustain a growing economy by constantly telling us that we cannot be happy with anything less than the newest version of anything. Fashion, electronics, transportation, and home style are a few of the areas where the best is always the next model or style. Manufacturers and service providers also want us to believe that our happiness hinges on being the first to possess the newest and best whatever. The minute anyone else purchases a newer model, our happiness comes to an end. This can lead to a sense of frustration that can grow into depression.
A few years ago, I watched a movie titled, City Slickers, staring Jack Palance (Curly) and Billy Crystal (Mitch), and others, who played the parts of a grizzled trail boss and a New Yorker who has lost his joy in life. Curly could see that Mitch had lost his joy and sense of meaning for his life. Curly tells Mitch that he needs to find “the one thing” that is most important in his life. When Mitch asks what “the one thing” is, Curly responds that he will have to discover it for himself. This leads us back to the opening question: Are you happy with how your life has turned out?
One factor that is essential for creating new/stronger disciples of Jesus is a holy discontent with how one’s life is turning out. When actions seem pointless and any improvement in the circumstances of one’s life seems unlikely, one begins to ask questions and seek alternative answers. At that point in time, a nudge from God can provide just enough motivation to seek new answers.
I will be preaching a summer series this year drawing upon a book by Lois Tverberg titled, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus. As we go through the summer (14 weeks) we will look at Jesus’ teachings from the perspective of a 1st century Jew. We will learn new ways of understanding what Jesus’ words meant to those around him and how that understanding impacted their lives. We will also see what impact their understanding can have on our lives today. And maybe, just maybe, we will discover something that adds a new zest for living as a disciple of Jesus. Please share your thoughts with me about what the material teaches as we journey through these weeks.
Grace and peace,