Friday, August 14, 2009
Daily Devo - Friday, 08/14/2009
"I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." (Philippians 4:11 ESV)
The Mouse in the Satchel
Diogenes had a problem. As a brilliant philosopher during the time of Plato, he rejected the opulent culture around him that feasted on pleasure and comforts. Over time he began to remove himself from this pleasure-seeking way of life. A point of liberation came when he watched a mouse running around, not bothering about finding anywhere for its nest, not worrying about the dark, showing no particular desire for things one might suppose particularly enjoyable. It was through watching this mouse that he discovered a way to live.
Living in an oversize barrel, he gave away all his possessions. He eventually destroyed his last remaining item, a wooden water bowl, when he observed a peasant boy drinking water from his cupped hands. He was ridiculed by the citizens of Athens and mocked by the philosophers. Plato even called him a "dog" and (emphasizing both his brilliance and extremism) said he was "Socrates gone mad".
Diogenes wanted, above all things, to be content with life. He abhorred the desperate search for pleasure he observed in others even as he desperately sought to be freed from that pursuit. At times it seemed like he was almost free. Once, when finding a mouse eating the crumbs in his empty food satchel, he noted that he was still rich enough that some were glad to have what he left behind. Despite this, contentment alluded the man. Others saw him as an obnoxious beggar and ill-tempered man. He was easily provoked, highly irritable, and contemptuously crude and demeaning towards others.
Without Christ we can just as easily grasp contentment as we can grasp the Sun. The apostle Paul learned to be content not because he lacked everything but rather because he lacked nothing. He possessed that ultimate object of worth--a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Diogenes thought he would find peace and satisfaction by making his home in a barrel, but Jesus tells us this peace belongs only to those whose home is in heaven.
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