Bible lesson: Contentment
Written: April 2, 2017
Introduce the video
Mention that I believe the video must be designed to win cats over to the Lord because of the way they use kind of an excessive level of moving bars and titles.
One of the great things about coming together like this and hearing the lesson with the congregation and the observations about life and the Bible in class is that we get the chance to look at what we’re doing and make adjustments. Some minor, and some that turn out to be major adjustments.
Q: Was there anything in the video that made you notice an adjustment might be appropriate, especially with regard to our contentment?
Q: What does it mean to you to be content?
Examples: Satisfied, Have everything I need, at peace
Does being content mean you don’t want anything?
What about lunch, you want lunch right? I do.
About four hours after that, well it’s time to start thinking about dinner obviously.
Q: Anybody hoping for a new job or a promotion right now? When did you think about it last, aside from just now when I reminded you?
When I want something, I think about it pretty often. It tends to stay on my mind. I can barely put it out of my mind to think about anything else and I barely notice anything else. Right after I’ve finished lunch, I’m not thinking about dinner, I’m temporarily content, but as time passes, I start to get hungry all over again. After a while I’ll be saying that “I’m starving”.
We spend a lot of time thinking about things that we’ve already had before. We’ve eaten before. Many times. But we still think about eating all through the day.
Martha once asked my grandfather if he wanted to come with us to Johnson City to see the fireworks. We still laugh about what he said. He told her that he’d already seen them.
He was content on the subject of fireworks. He’d seen them once. He didn’t need any more.
But that’s an exception. We may feel at peace and even have moments of contentment, but it won’t last.
Q: Can you think of something man-made that does? Something that does last?
Did you know there are crews painting the Golden Gate bridge every day? It makes you wonder how thick that paint must be after all this time.
RQ: What would happen if they stopped?
Bridges, buildings, the companies we all work for, families, plumbing – the kind in your house and even your own internal “plumbing” are all subject to something called “entropy”.
For me, entropy is another nice proof of God.
Entropy is like decay. Imagine that everything around us, including us, has a number. This paper I’m holding has a number, the lectern has a number, you have a number and I have a number. That number is our Entropy number and it’s the measure of randomness in the atoms of our makeup.
A new bridge has a low entropy number. An old bridge has a higher entropy, a higher randomness, because it is beginning to break down. The steel is beginning to corrode. Water and sun are making those atoms that used to be all steel something else – something else that is less structured and less connected. Everything around us, and us, is constantly moving toward greater randomness.
In fact, the rule is that the entropy number for everything we just talked about can never get smaller, it will only get larger and larger, more random – unless, like the painting of the bridge, constant work is applied to it.
The phones you carry are examples. Simple, more random forms were transformed, by a lot of effort, into something more complex than the sand and elements the phone is made of. If you leave your phone in the yard, it’s going to break back down into those elements again.
So this might sound depressing.
Might be depressing to think about how much effort is required to keep the entropy numbers of everything we care about at the level it currently is. Have to mow, have to paint, have to keep clean, take showers, cut hair, cook food, eat food, get up go to work, get exercise. We live in a world where energy is flowing like water through a dam’s releases and still it feels like we’re losing ground sometimes doesn’t it?
Even society. How would the politicians of today compare to our forefathers? Do we think the people writing 2,000 page laws to restrict our rights are wiser than the people that lived with no computers or Internet that wrote the Constitution that protects our rights from government? I think entropy of our government has grown into a much larger number than our forefathers designed.
So it might be depressing to think about entropy. But I think entropy is clear, scientific proof of God.
What we make always falls back into the basic elements. God made the basic elements. The atoms in your cellphone were something else once. Now they are a cellphone. Someday, they’ll be elements again and then someone will turn those elements into something else amazing and wonderful that everyone has to have. And one day, whatever that is will be gone and God’s elements will be there.
What God creates lasts.
Here are two amazing things I noticed just this week, without even looking.
Astronomers discovered an asteroid in the same orbit as the giant planet Jupiter. Jupiter is so big that you could fit 1,300 Earths inside it. Almost every asteroid and planet are circling in one direction (99.99%), but this one is going the opposite direction. So you would think this asteroid would have crashed into Jupiter like we’ve seen so many other asteroids do. But this one is slightly deflected by Jupiter’s massive gravity as it approaches and then deflected back onto its previous course as it passes. The astronomers say that it has successfully passed Jupiter, going the opposite direction on its same orbit, more than 10,000 times.
Do we know what mechanism determines whether a baby will be a boy or a girl?
We know the switch that is flipped, the “Y” chromosome. But what determines when that is flipped and when it isn’t? In programming, you sometimes need to come up with a way to make something happen randomly. That seems like it would be easy, but it isn’t, because a program is made to do things the same way every time, so how do you write a program so that it does something differently each time?
There are all kinds of complicated logic models to do it.
All over the world, in advanced societies and in primitive societies the balance between baby boys and baby girls is almost the same. Not just all over the world, but all through time, right? Otherwise, guess what – we might not be here. Think about how hard it would be to design something that could run so reliably for so long.
God created you and me and all the kids downstairs and the people that didn’t even consider coming to church this morning. He created the minds of the smug atheists on YouTube who think they can prove He doesn’t exist using brains they don’t even understand.
Our bodies are not going to last, that wasn’t His plan.
What’s going to last is what He made and He joined with our bodies on the day we first came into being. That will last. The entropy number of what is really us, our soul – that God made, is always the same. It is perpetual in a way that only God can achieve.
Everything else in this room is moving toward randomness and decay. Our physical bodies are aging and sliding down and when we’re done with them, our spirit will be standing unbent and not hungry for anything but our connection to God.
Q: Questions, These are question points in the lesson where I will wait on the class to respond.
RQ: Rhetorical Questions, These are questions without a pause for responses.