Last night, Ben Collins, the fearless leader of our misfit faith community known as Collective, was discussing the “Freebird” of the Bible, Psalm 23. Even if you’ve never been to church, you have heard it at a funeral or in some poignant movie moment, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” What? Follow God and you will miraculously have all your wishes granted by the Genie God? RIGHT … Follow God and you will suddenly be rid of all materialistic desires? Hardly. Follow God and no evil will ever come to your door? Obviously not.
So what does that mean, “I shall not want”?
In today’s world, we want, neigh, DEMAND, instant gratification. If you have cable, you can have “On Demand” movies. You want information? Type a search on your smartphone. You want food? Hit a drive through. Having a tough day? Take a pill. Want to find a spouse? Sign up for a dating site. Want a house? Apply for a 0% down loan. We don’t have to search, save,work, or waste time preparing for anything. As a result, I think the world is more broken than ever before. Having a tough time paying your mortgage? Don’t get a second job … just quit paying the payments, after all, it will be 2 years before the bank can push a foreclosure through the courts. Relationship getting tough? Trade them in for an upgrade. Because of instant gratification, everything has become quick and easy. Disposable. We live in a world where it seems that everything is expendable, including human life.
Stormy Llewellyn had a good theory. “Delayed gratification makes everything sweeter.” Who is Stormy Llewellyn, you ask? She is the soulmate and fiance of Odd Thomas, a character created by thriller-writer, Dean Koontz. Odd is possessed with the unique ability to communicate with the dead and solve or prevent horrific crimes. His girl, Stormy waited for EVERYTHING! As a manager of the Burke and Bailey’s Ice Cream Parlor, weeks go by before she will try a new flavor, fearing the lack of anticipation will ruin the ultimate meaningfulness of the experience.
In one scene, Odd questions Stormy about why, if she wants a root beer float on Monday, does she wait until Wednesday. Why doesn’t she have a root beer float on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday? She insists that waiting will make the float taste better … and will help avoid becoming the 800 pound person who has to be hoisted out of the house with a crane.
So as I ponder Psalm 23:1, I can’t help but think that it is a call to contentment, a call to a simpler life, a call for serious introspection about our choices. A call to wait, to think, and to ponder.
Think about the things you prize most in life. Were they things that were handed to you or things you had to earn or wait for? Yesterday, I talked about the “4 Hour Rule” and how implementing that simple rule has already spared me from having to eat my words. Perhaps a similar rule about our “wants” would also spare us heartache, save us money, and teach us the value of “things”. Instead of jumping at every impulse, I am going to wait a week to see if the urge passes. If at the end of the week the want/need/desire is still there, I will have increased the “sweet factor”, just like Stormy’s root beer float. And if not, I saved some calories.