You Can't Always Get What You Want

Author Sarah Peck asserts that one of the biggest lies we are constantly being told in our current culture is that we "can have everything we want."  

Instinctively, we know this is a lie, but it's incredibly difficult to push back against the powerful narrative this lie creates.  

In the cult movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt's character, anarchist Tyler Durden, offers an alternative to the greed and consumption of our dominant culture.  He tells a group of dissatisfied men:

 "You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank.  You are not the car you drive.  You're not the contents of your wallet."  

Durden's assessment might have been right on point, but his solution (anarchy) was not exactly the answer.  It's not enough to simply dismantle the system, to throw a brick through a window.   You need a better story.  

In my devotional reading today I read the following passage: 

"Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.  He came to Jesus by night and said to him, 'Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.'" - John 3:1-2

Theologian Walter Brueggemann imagines Nicodemus as a man who has it all.  He's a lawyer, scholar and a politician.  He should have it all figured out, but he doesn't.  There's something about Jesus' teachings that gnaws at him. It eats at Nicodemus that after all his achievement, his acquisition of status, knowledge and perhaps even wealth, he feels unfulfilled. 

Nicodemus left this encounter with Jesus' words echoing in his ear--words that stand even now as an invitation to be reborn into innocence, vulnerability, dependence and openness.  

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved."  

What Nicodemus was offered was something that he knew deep inside was exactly what he needed, even though the culture around him taught him otherwise.  He was given a better story, and eventually he stepped into that story and became a Jesus-follower. 

May you receive the invitation of Jesus during this season of Lent to become less, to die to yourself and your desires, to live in to the example of Jesus himself who loved and gave...everything.  May you choose the better story of following Jesus.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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