They’re Killing Themselves… and we want to be just like them

Artwork made for Ray Stannard Baker's (nome de...

Artwork made for Ray Stannard Baker’s (nome de plume David Grayson) Adventures in Contentment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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)

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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13 Responses to They’re Killing Themselves… and we want to be just like them

  1. granbee says:

    The things of this world are gone in the twinkling of any eye, but His Kingdom knows no end.

  2. Rob Barkman says:

    One of the Lord’s greatest blessing that He bestows upon His people is the ability to live a contented life knowing that we are in His will and glorifying Him everyday.

  3. Susan Michaels says:

    The Richard Cory lyrics put it all in perspective, don’t they? Thank you for reminding us that we have ALL things in Jesus. Striving and building idols is a wearisome and wasteful business.

  4. ptl2010 says:

    The Lord loved/loves us… so He inspired these words “Get away from them and separate yourselves from them,” declares the Lord, “and don’t touch anything unclean. Then I will welcome you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. . He knew long time ago that we would kill ourselves if we do not separate ourselves from the world.

  5. shekinah419 says:

    Sadly this doesn’t just describe the unbeliever, but a great many professing Christians seek after these things. It is the great tragedy of the false “prosperity gospel” of this Laodocean church age.

  6. wdednh says:

    Reblogged this on YOU DECIDE.

  7. Contentment – a great blessing, and only in the Lord do we know its completeness.

    As a youngster, I doubt much time was spent doing OTHER than wishing I was someone else. Why did I have to be me? Why was I so evil? Why would I never be any good to anyone? Why doesn’t anyone want me? Why can’t I be like . . . well, just about anyone else, as long as it wasn’t a “he” because all men are evil.

    Coming to know the Lord Jesus and being adopted by a loving, PERFECT Father God into His own family, when I was 22 yrs old, CHANGED me. For the first time in my life I found contentment, peace, security and purpose. I was a NEW person.

    Now, 53 years later, I am seldom discontent because my loving Father provides ALL I need. He comforts me and encourages me; He convicts me, challenges me, strengthens me and enables me; and leads me in the right way. How can I *NOT* be content? He is EVERYTHING.

    What a truly amazing God!!!

    • mtsweat says:

      You picked up on the underlying message well, dear friend. The younger generation’s out there struggling to find role models and heroes (However, it’s not limited to them). They’re looking… My prayer is that, just as yourself, God delivers them from these desires and places virtuous leaders in their lives who will show them the love of God in Christ Jesus where as you say… Everything can be found! Even contentment.

      By the way… good thing you outgrew that ‘evil men’ illness. 🙂

  8. bfpierce11 says:

    Always good to be reminded of this. Had an experience recently wherein I could have taken a new job for more money, but it seems like it would have required some substandard practices ethically and would have required me to take time away from commitments to my wife and to the Body. Struggled much recently with lusting after the wealth of the world. It felt good to say “no” to it. Thanks for your post. Wrote a small short story about this phenomenon:

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