The Super Bowl and contentment

February 7, 2018 Farmville Enterprise

One of my favorite photographs was taken of my parents and brothers at the Minneapolis Metrodome in 1992. After being a season ticket holder for over thirty years my dad got to take them to witness the Washington Redskins win the Super Bowl.

For many of us Super Bowl Sunday is an enjoyable evening when we spend hours with friends watching good football and eating mouth-watering snacks. In the United States it is the second biggest day of the year for food consumption, surpassed only by Thanksgiving. It was predicted before Super Bowl LII that approximately 139 million pounds of guacamole scooped up by 14,500 tons of tortilla chips would be eaten and that approximately $277 million would be spent on potato chips with $1.2 billion spent on beer. 1.35 billion chicken wings were expected to be eaten.

For every die-hard football fan who carefully analyzes each play of the game there could be someone equally as passionate about the half-time performance or the quality of the commercials.  This year, a 30-second commercial cost approximately $5 million. Some of the best Super Bowl ads through the years have been by Budweiser, Pepsi, Doritos, Chrysler, Nike, Volkswagen, and Coke.

The goal of advertisers is to make their product or service desirable. They want to convince consumers that our lives would be better if we bought what they are selling. In a sense, advertising that works best is that which convinces us to be less than content with something about our current situation.  Slogans like “Baby, I’m worth it,” “Have it your way,” or “You deserve the best” encourage us to think more of what is owed to us or how we deserve to be treated as special. Of course, all people are worthy of respect and dignity simply because we are children of God. Our focus, however, should be not on what people should do for us or what material possessions would fulfill us. The apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13) Our focus should be gratefulness for what we do have and consideration of how we could use our time and resources to serve others. James Carr’s frequent reminder to his mother, sister and niece was reiterated at his Celebration of Life service. We should take care not to call a “want” a “need.” We have many more of the former than the latter. G.K. Chesterton, an English poet, writer and theologian of the late 1800s put it very well. “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”

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