In my younger days I was a running back on the football team. As I took the ball from the quarterback and rushed through the hole, first past the defensive lineman, then stiff arming the outside linebacker before outrunning the safety who was chasing me down, and finally crossing the goal line for a touchdown – all to the cheers of the crowd – now that was as good as it gets. I often was tempted to do the “Heisman Pose” before spiking the ball. But on the next offensive series I might get tackled for a loss, or even fumble the ball, and the crowd was quick to express their displeasure.
I have a speech impediment that in my youth, and even into adulthood, caused me much pain, so I tried to mask my pain and fill my void with athletic success on the football field or on the track. Just let me say, that game plan did not work too well. I was looking in the wrong place.
Not only is it fame and fortune, but also more stuff, washboard abs, larger breasts, more friends, or the latest technology gadget, that we seek after to help us fill the void that is within us. Enjoying life and the trappings that comes along with it is not a bad thing. God wants us to enjoy life. In 1 Timothy 6:17, among other things, we are told that God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” But Scripture also tells us that worldly “stuff” does not bring soul filling satisfaction that lasts a lifetime.
C.S. Lewis, in his book “Mere Christianity” gives us this answer to why looking for happiness in places other than God is hopeless. Here is what Lewis says –
“The reason it will never succeed is this. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering with religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” (p. 50)
So enjoy your stuff for what is intended, but look for – and find – permanent peace, joy and happiness only in Jesus. He is your living water!
(Homework assignment: read John 4:1-26.)
New Bern, North Carolina