The only thing worse, on a cold Friday night football game, than a missing glove is two missing gloves. I had two. I don’t normally wear gloves but the weather was chilly, and I hate being cold. Thus began the search for some gloves. As I went through the plastic container of winter accessories, I found one dark brown, right-handed glove. It had no mate. Then I found another single, left handed glove, and I thought “aha, the missing glove.” No such luck.  The left-handed potential match was a much different brown with some unusual patterns. They were no match at all.

Always trying to be the comic, I asked Sheri, “What is this, the O. J. Simpson house?” (Remember the missing glove?) I thought of the late Johnnie Cochran’s courtroom line in the O. J. trial, “If it (the glove) don’t fit, you must acquit.” Then, I added for more comic relief, “Or maybe Michael Jackson needed another matching glove.”

As I left the house headed to the Friday night football game, gloveless, Sheri said that I should buy some. I have never bought gloves in my life; any gloves I have had have been “hand” delivered by Santa or a family member on a birthday.

The glove purchase was perhaps the easiest I made that holiday season. I went to Target to the men’s section and tried on a pair of X-Large that were too big. I went for the medium size and within five minutes I had a new pair for about $12.00. I put them on a credit card without giving it any thought. I had purchased a basic necessity on a cold night with the swipe of a card.

I think we take for granted what money does for us in providing the basic necessities of life. The Apostle Paul said “If we have food and clothes, with these we shall be content” (I Timothy 6:8). Paul, maybe that works for you but not me.  That was Paul, but I am not Paul. I need heat, a firm mattress, a good pillow, turkey and dressing, golf, and gloves on a warm night. The list of what I need to be happy is longer than it was for Paul.

The classic Christian response is that you should take what you need to put a roof over your head and bread on your plate.  Look at what Paul said: “food and clothes.” That’s it. Had Paul ever heard of air conditioning or a fire place on a cold night? Had Paul ever heard of a flat screen TV? I need, or think I need, more than Paul.

Paul did not live in 2017 and have kids. We’ve had two kids to raise. I have spent half of my life in Hibbetts. I could get my mail at Hibbetts. I look around the store and ask, “Where are your white, high top Converse shoes for $10 like I had in the ‘60s?” “Huh?” is the response I get. I think this issue of what we need is tougher than Paul thought.

Here’s what the great John Wesley said.  He is, by the way, the greatest Methodist who ever lived (except for Larry Patton and Karen Kagiyama).  We share much in common with our Methodist friends, including the same pigeons. We respect them (not the pigeons). The greatest Methodist said, “Any man who takes for himself more than the plain necessities of life lives in open, habitual denial of the Lord.  He gained riches and hellfire.” Is it OK if I disagree with John Wesley?

My list is longer than Paul’s or John Wesley’s. I wish I could be content with “food and clothes” as Paul said or “plain necessities” as John Wesley said. I am not. Perhaps I am just spoiled, but I need more than they needed to be content. I need too much. We are entering the “too much season.” I’ve already eaten too much (and will again), and I will spend too much and get too much.
So, we should all pray for contentment. We should be happy with what we have. And while you are praying, if I could find matches to my two single gloves then I would have three pair, and surely that would make me content.

~Pastor Steve

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