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Acquiring Contentment in a “Happy Meal” World

9/10/06 CC/AM

1 Timothy 6:3-10

Introduction: Ask a child where they want to go to eat and you are likely to hear McDonald’s!  Wise parents learn not to even ask!  As predictable as the place so is their menu request.  Don’t bother to ask, they want a happy meal.  Ever stop to marvel at the marketing genius behind it all?  At most restaurants you buy food but at the place of the golden arches you can actually buy happiness!  What a concept!  Here are a few things that I have noticed about buying happiness at McDonald’s.

1. All good parents buy happy meals or are subjected to public humiliation.

2. The food does not matter.  (it can be a burger or some chicken parts but they don’t want the HM for the food).

 

3. The cheap plastic toy will only bring temporary happiness, usually less than 2 minutes.

4. The two minute rule only applies if there is not another sibling with a different toy that is perceived as being more desirable!  This has led to the number one rule of happy meal purchasing for all sane families, each meal must come with the same toy!  No exceptions!

5. Most HM toys never make it home.  They are either thrown away before leaving the restaurant or are left in dad’s vehicle for him to dispose of at his leisure.

Now you will notice that although these toys hold a very brief attraction for the children and that the description “Happy Meal” may be a bit misleading, the next time the kids want to go to eat they still crave a HM.  Their lives have not been molded in any significant way for the better even if they consume hundreds of HMs, but the desire for a HM seems to last for years and years.  They think that they will find fulfillment and contentment in that plastic toy which quickly is revealed as just junk!

No adults would never fall prey to a similar syndrome would they?  Trying to find happiness in things that never truly satisfy is not and age specific problem.

I recently came across the figure that the average American adult sees as many as 3000 advertisements in a single day!  Most of them are geared towards telling us how much better our lives will be if we only bought their product.  We will be happier, healthier, more fulfilled, and more popular, (especially with the opposite sex).  People will view us with more respect if they view us with the product being proposed and we can even feel superior and join the ranks of the truly successful people when we own this thing.

That is the world we live in.  What does the Bible have to say about such things.  Paul warns Timothy about those who are greedy and the way to real gain in our text.

Prayer

Text

1.   The meaninglessness of materialism 3-5

a.    Paul again warns Timothy about the false teachers and tells him how to identify them.

                                                            i.      They will come with a different doctrine

                                                         ii.      They will teach “unhealthy words”

                                                      iii.      They will come from conceited people

                                                      iv.      They will not deal with the issues that really matter but will simply stir up controversy and strife

                                                         v.      They have destructive minds and desire to defraud the truth.

                                                      vi.      They are doing all of this because they are motivated by greed.

b.   He is talking about those who have made a business out of religion with the sole motivation of making a lot of money.

c.    We have seen in our past studies that the pastor was to be paid even paid double, but we also saw that all of those in church leadership were to be free from the love of money and from ill gotten gains.

d.   There are those today who teach that if you become a Christian that you will become rich.  That it is God’s desire that you become wealthy, and by the way, be better able to support their ministry of getting rich themselves.

e.    Today you can purchase a prayer package for your specific needs at a price custom configured for you. Just do a search for “prayer package” on the net and see how many scams you come across.

Transition: God wants us to find more than wealth, he wants us to find contentment.

2.   The great gain of godliness  6-10

a.    Godliness is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. Actually godly living brings about contenment.

b.   Are you content with who you are, what you do, and what you have or does the allure of what you do not have haunt you?

c.    Five facts about finding contentment

                                                            i.      Wealth will not bring it.

Evelyn Adams: "Winning the lottery isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be," says Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey lottery not just once, but twice (1985, 1986), to the tune of $5.4 million. Today the money is all gone and Adams lives in a trailer.

Bud Post: William "Bud" Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on his Social Security. "I wish it never happened. It was totally a nightmare," says Post. A former girlfriend successfully sued him for a share of his winnings. It wasn’t his only lawsuit. A brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him, hoping to inherit a share of the winnings. Other siblings pestered him until he agreed to invest in a car business and a restaurant in Sarasota, Fla., -- two ventures that brought no money back and further strained his relationship with his siblings.

Post even spent time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector. Within a year, he was $1 million in debt. Now he lives quietly on $450 a month and food stamps.

                                                         ii.      Wealth is not transferable to our heavenly bank account.  In the Old Testament it says. Naked I came and naked I shall return.  I saw an interesting T-shirt the other day.  It read: Eat right, live right, die anyway!  It prompted an interesting conversation with a group of men and the man wearing the shirt was just doing some advertising!

                                                      iii.      To find contentment our expectations may need to be adjusted. What do you really need?  When a survey was done asking people what would make them happy regardless of their income, they all wanted twice as much as they had.  Even Ted Turner when asked what it was like to have 10 billion dollars said. “it is depressing knowing that Bill Gates has 100 billion!

                                                      iv.      A desire to be rich may cause us to drown.  Plunging to ruin and destruction.  Have you ever thought that you were going to drown?  It is a helpless feeling when you feel that you are going down for the last time.  I read somewhere that one of the reasons that the suicide rate is on the increase because of the many opportunities to gamble.  I was at a gambling induced suicide just around the corner from here a few months ago!

                                                         v.      A desire to be rich leads many away from the life of faith that truly prospers a person.  It is living by faith that truly brings contentment. We can’t afford to love money!  It can cause us to forget the life of faith that we are to live. It can “torture your soul with sorrows”.

Conclusion: Whenever we start to become discontented we need to stop what we are doing and re adjust our mind and focus upon just what we have in the Lord Jesus Christ!  Now I know that sounds awful simplistic, but sometimes we just need to get back to the basics.  Don’t get sucked into the Happy Meal mentality that surrounds us.  Focus on God and He will take care of our every need and He might even choose to bless us above all that we could ask or think.  He is that kind of God!  But He might also allow is to suffer a bit in order to make us into someone who will be praise and honor to His name.  Either way when we are walking with Him we can be content.


1 Timothy 6:3-10 (NASB95) If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness,
4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,
5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

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