I open my mailbox, and the gloss screams out “excess.” The Sunday paper spills it on my living room floor. The television ads every 13 minutes promote it. The consumer culture feeds it.
It’s in the 44-ounce Big Gulp.
Or the bottle of Scotch sold by Costco that costs $17,000.
Or Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy ¾ Pound Triple Burger at Wendy’s, packing a mere 1,120 calories
Or the jacked-up Hummer with chromed 22-inch rims that’s never seen a dirt road
Or the 80-inch television on sale for $3700.
We have an excess in our self-projection, with nails and hair and clothing.
More love, less effort
And excess isn’t just in our cultural vernacular of possessions.
We are excessive in our hook ups and our break ups.
We want more love without effort.
We want more money without work, more pleasure with less inconvenience.
It seems the four letter word no one wants to use is Deny.
We don’t hear it in the media, as our culture is all about getting their rights, their benefits, their moment. Sadly, we don’t hear it from the pulpit, as this is not a popular message. Our gospel is shrouded in prosperity and shuns poverty.
“Deny yourself” is a quaint concept
The lessons of hard work, faithful service, and putting others first are lost. We simply don’t tolerate denial in a modern culture.
We don’t hear it in the workplace. There isn’t a culture of turning the other cheek, or letting others go first, or taking up your cross.
It’s not really a surprise, because Christ himself told us that his principles would not be of this world, that we would be laughed and mocked. That we would be misunderstood. 1 Peter 2. 11 says “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.
There is a peace to be found
But we all know in our hearts that there is simplicity in a lack of complexity. There is peace to found in the ease of letting go.
Jesus wants us to deny ourselves – our selfish wants, our material lusts, our immaterial pettiness – and seek first His ways.
Somewhere inside I hear a voice calling me this path.