The Trumpet Sounds: ‘Contentment or approval?’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Writer

For the past three weeks at South Side we have been talking about the subject of contentment. 2020 has been a year filled with discontentment. People are discontent with the virus and regulations. People are discontent with their jobs and unemployment. People are discontent with politics. People are discontent with their schools and the decisions being made for their children. People are discontent with their government. I have no doubt that people will be discontent with the results of the presidential election no matter who wins in November. It seems that the one thing that people have in common in 2020 is “discontentment.” The Webster Dictionary defines the word content as “being in a state of happiness and satisfaction.” The question I would like to ask you today is “what is the source of your contentment?”

In 1943 a psychologist named Abraham Maslow said that every human being has five specific needs. In saying so he developed what is known as “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards the needs were: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.” However, I would ask, was he right? What do we truly need to be content? There is no doubt that we live in a world where people are longing for contentment. There are certain “core” human needs that every person on the planet has in common. Some of those needs are physical such as food, water, and air. We have emotional needs. Whether we choose to acknowledge them or not the need for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man. In psychology we learn that everyone has the inherent desire to feel safe and secure, and that our behavior revolves around the need to garner that sense of physical, emotional, and spiritual security. On a deeper emotional level feeling approved makes us feel secure with ourselves as a person.

The need for love, acceptance, and contentment are nothing new for humanity. Even more now than ever we live in a culture that’s craving approval. In our nation almost 70 percent of our adult population uses Facebook, with 90.4 percent of millennials reporting themselves to be active users. By clicking thumbs up, posting a comment, or sharing a post, people are validating each other at an incredible ever-increasing rate. God didn’t create us to need someone’s approval every five minutes on social media. Many studies have shown that the use of “social media” has been proven to impact us.

For example, female suicide has risen dramatically since 2003. The generation known as “Gen Z” which are kids born after 1996 were the first to get on social media in middle school. Since then, suicide for girls ages 10 to 15 have risen 151 percent, and suicide for girls 15 to 19 have risen 70 percent. Studies now have proven that “Gen Z” is more anxious, fragile, and depressed than generations before them. On top of this, the rate of young adults living at home are constantly going up. Our society has digitally conditioned people when they’re uncomfortable or alone to get out a digital pacifier which defeats the internal ability to deal with real problems in life! Studies now have found this conditioning can create anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, and make it addictive to hear praise, acceptance, and acknowledgment in all aspects of life.

In the Star Wars movie “Return of the Jedi,” Luke purposefully turns himself over to the Empire, with the intention of redeeming his father, Darth Vader. He insists to his sister, “There’s still good in him.” At the end of the movie, the Emperor is killing Luke, and Vader is caught between saving his only son and protecting the power he has gained. He chooses his son and throws the Emperor down a shaft, effectively putting an end to the Empire. As they flee the Death Star, Darth Vader asks Luke to set him down and remove his helmet so he can see his son with his own eyes. Luke takes the helmet off, and then his father tells him to leave him. Luke says, “No. I’ve got to save you.” To which his father replies, “You already have, Luke. You already have!”

Love has power. It can satisfy in ways that power alone, even some of the most ultimate and fantastical power ever, cannot. I want you to know today that the only real place you will ever find untouchable contentment is in the love of God alone. 2000 years ago God gave you the only “like or heart” you need when He sent His son to die for you on the cross. John reminds us of this when he wrote “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

This Sunday at South Side we will continue our series entitled “The More Of Less.” In a world that says “more is more” we can learn the secret of finding untouchable contentment in Christ. Worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers children’s classes for all ages. We are continuing to practice social distancing at our services. If you are unable to attend our online services will be available at 3 on Facebook and our website. If you would like to give generously text: 84321 then the word “help” and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: or on Facebook.

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Pastor

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Writer