Livin and loven


"Man wants but little here below, and wants that little long." So said Oliver Goldsmith, who reminds us that contentment consists, not in having great resources, but in having few wants.

Complexity is the confining entanglement of this age. We are overwhelmed by information, resources, choices..... which fill our every waking minute. Filled to capacity, we begin to overload. The multiple-choice impact of our consumer life-style confuses us. Our few wants become many needs and thus, complexity leads to frustration. Contentment in simplicity is buried beneath an ever increasing pile of consumer-choice possibilities. In the end, only myopic youthfulness can find a momentary self-fulfilling path. The mature can only but drop-out.

The trick to survival, or even better, contentment and survival, lies in cutting through the multiple-choice barrier and locking on to core truth. Of course, for most there is no core truth, and so they will have to live with confusion. Yet, for the foolish person who believes the unbelievable, who believes in a God who intrudes himself into the human dilemma, for this person there is core truth with contentment.

C.J. Dennis touched on this core truth when he summed up the business of living, in his book The Sentimental Bloke, with the descriptive phrase, "livin and loven." Life is not about gaining and possessing, winning and succeeding, but it's living and enjoying, loving and being loved. These are the elements, the few wants that bring contentment.

We should add that the end of the matter is livin and loven in Jesus. Yes indeed!

    "There's 'igher things, she sez, for blokes to do.

    An' I am 'arf believin' that it's true."

The "'igher things", if you like, is the gentle touch of Jesus. It's that something beyond the "push", "that leery game." I suppose, in the end, there is just me and Jesus. Each of us individually will find our substance in him. Of course, complexity can easily invade even his touch. Church is in the grip of "go for growth" - marketing mania. Yet, it's easy to cut through the "push". Church is the gathering of a group of Christ's friends. Sunday by Sunday we meet together to adore our eternal Lord. We gather around the table and remember what he has done for us. We thank him, praise him, confess him, pray to him and hear him. We leave our meeting as a group of friends and go out into the coming week seeking to apply the truths we have heard and affirmed. Nothing could be simpler - a simple want here below.

So, the end of the matter is "livin and loven" in Jesus.