They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town,
With political connections to spread his wealth around.
Born into society, a banker’s only child,
He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style.
Turn on the television or the radio… fire up the internet, or simply drive the roadways cluttered with billboards, and you’ll be slapped in the face by a message from advertisers with, of course, your best interest in mind. “You can be slimmer, stronger, smarter, wealthier, and more attractive!”
The advertisers insist you can be just like them! You know them… the heroes of our generation, those who make it big at the theatres… the stars of the sports arenas… those with the most curves, charisma, and toys. Ahhh, just imagine… the good life!
The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes:
Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show.
And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht!
Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he’s got.
Sign me up! Bring it on! Man, are they living the dream! …and me?
But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I’m living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be, oh I wish that I could be Richard Cory.
Which is worse? To be the advertisers pushing this agenda upon us or our relentless desire to be someone we are not? Is it even possible to be content with who God made us and what He has given us? For that matter, are those endowed with all this stuff content? How about the person who really lives in poverty, can he or she find contentment?
Paul believed contentment is never found in anything this world has to offer. He would say that no matter how little or how much of this world’s goods one possesses has no bearing on their level of contentment. Why? He would say it’s because true contentment can only be found in a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13).
I believe that what Paul knew… and would have us to understand is that peace and joy and contentment might seem to be calling us from that next pay raise, or that next trip to a beauty salon, or in that new home, or new car, but they are just pipe dreams. Can we have all of these things and be content? Of course, but not because of them. Can we live without all of these things and still find contentment? Of course, but not because we’ve restrained ourselves from the pleasures found in these things.
Only because we find our contentment in Christ… and nothing else, can we do all these things just like Paul.
Jesus promised, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” So peace, joy, and contentment is available to all! Will we grasp it while it’s available? Or will we continue to place our hope in those things that will bring only more covetous desires. And in the end, leave us found wanting…
He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch,
And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much,
So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read:
Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head.*
*Lyrics from the song, ‘Richard Cory’ by Simon and Garfunkel (adapted from the poem by Edwin A. Robinson)