Rev. Brian Krushel – North Thompson Pastoral Charge
Have you ever found yourself watching the commercials on television with almost as much interest as the show you have tuned in to? The craft of creating commercials has become a fine art these days, even to the point where there are awards given out each year for the ones that are the most effective and entertaining.
Marketing gurus know that their product won’t sell nearly as well with a straightforward pitch, so they appeal to our deep emotions and core values. In doing so, the ads say a lot about who we think we are, how we see ourselves, how we view the world around us, how we wished things were and what is most important to us.
The implied message often seems to be that we will be happier, more successful, and more fulfilled with their product. But even deeper than all of that is the suggestion that we are somehow incomplete without it, that they have what we are so desperately lacking and needing.
The subtle message is that we are not good enough, we are incomplete, we are deficient, we are defective. It strikes at the core of our insecurities and chips away at our self-esteem. If we hear enough of these messages enough times, we just might begin to believe it and find ourselves never satisfied and always wanting more.
I find it disheartening and distressing to think that many people (at times even myself) are influenced by such negative messages. So, how do we counteract a culture of greed and desire and low self esteem?
Psalm 23 is one of the best known and loved passages in the Bible. “The Lord is my shepherd,” it begins, “I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.”
This psalm paints a picture of one whose basic needs are met, not one where our every want and desire is fulfilled.
The sheep in Psalm 23 want for very little – grass, water, the right path, just treatment – and the shepherd provides all these things because that’s what good shepherds do. The sheep don’t want to be the biggest and fluffiest sheep, they don’t want the brightest and whitest wool, they just want to be happy sheep, contented sheep. They want the basics and that satisfies them.
There is a peacefulness and a contentment that underlies this psalm, a sense that the world has not changed – our enemies are still present, the valley of the shadow of death is still there and we still walk through it – but the fear is gone, the threat is not there, we are contented and we want for nothing.
I think that is what most of us want deep, deep down at the core of our being; we just want enough, enough of the basics, enough love and mercy, enough trust and respect. We can survive without the other stuff, we are good enough and complete enough without the other stuff.
Do you believe it? Do you believe that you are enough? It’s a hard message to believe at times, one that is not heard in many places. Hopefully it is one that is heard in every church, temple, synagogue, mosque, and everywhere God is spoken of.
Any religion that is worth building your life on ought to proclaim that we are enough and that we don’t need to do anything to achieve or earn God’s love. What more could we possibly need? That is enough.