“Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
In “It’s a Wonderful Life” George Bailey is presented with a job offer by his arch-rival Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter, the wealthiest man in Bedford Falls, is informed that George’s affordable housing offered by his building and loan company is cutting into Potter’s profit. George is drawing people away from his high rents. Mr. Potter calls George in and offers him a job, a three year contract at a comfortable salary that could provide a nice home and clothes for his wife, trips to New York and possibly even Europe. George is flabbergasted and flattered and begs for a day to think it over. Potter evades George’s question about what happens to the building and loan business and George starts to shake hands but then realizes he would be betraying his values. George could have his dream of travel and luxury but at a price. He turns Potter down.
Mr. Potter flattered George to try to manipulate him under his control but George saw through him. King Herod in the Christmas story meets the wise men and sends them to find the new king and report back so he can go and worship too. It was a lie. Herod sent soldiers to kill the babies of Bethlehem. We have a saying, “Flattery will get you nowhere.” When we realize someone is complementing us disproportionately for their selfish gain, like Mr. Potter or Herod, we have to stop and think.
We might ask ourselves today what our Achilles heel is that we find ourselves vulnerable to. What dream might we have that tempts us to over extend ourselves? We are tempted to promise beyond our ability to pay. For some of us it is our desire to be loved. Perhaps the promise of financial gain or fame catches our eye. Proverbs 37:4 warns us to set our hearts on pleasing God. During the Christmas season we are very vulnerable to spending too much to bless people and we are vulnerable to exhaustion from doing too much. May we trust God to give us the desires of our heart. Peace is found in appreciating what we have or receive and not comparing it to what we might have wanted. Blessings as you navigate this season!