"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." ~Jim Elliot

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Don't Spend Your Life Chasing Trash

Oftentimes I find myself completely oblivious to the world around me. It's easy to see life as a bunch of X's and O's, a time sheet, an agenda: be here at 1:00, do this, watch that. Rarely do human beings take on the burden of looking through the eyes of their brother. I discovered recently that I'm no exception to this rule, but when I really do take the time to look into the lives of other people, I am grieved - because of what I see in them, and then because I realize it is true of myself.

Most people live looking for the next thrill - next high, next phone, next trend, next paycheck, next trip, next year - with no lasting sense of fulfillment. Oh sure, people find fulfillment. They live with it their whole lives. But typically the fulfillment they find is from a temporary delight so that the whole of their lives are overshadowed by a desperation to keep themselves satisfied before this great thing right now becomes a boring thing of the past (hence the pursuit of the next thrill).

This shadow gives people a great amount of discomfort, so what we humans do is we create a long-term plan that we think will give us some source of emotional sustenance. This manifests itself in things like careers, relationships, long-term assets, and other things of the like. When we combine the short-term pleasures with their long-term plans, we think we're all set. And so, this is the way we live life: a layer of transient pursuits supported by futuristic goals.

When we consider critically the effect this has on humanity, it is easy to be downtrodden. Why? Allow me to summarize what this way of living means. It means that many people choose video games over anything else. It means people waste their money drinking and smoking and doing whatever to get highs, while the next day they are met by lows of equal measure. It means people continuously pour themselves into gadgets that will be trash in five years so that they spend their whole lives essentially pursuing trash. Practically, it means that most people would prefer a dead relative as a benefactor to a living relative who is a beneficiary. It means that many people spend the first one-third of their lives pursuing three letters to follow their name and the next two-thirds pursuing digits to follow their bank account, so that by the end of their lives they have lived for letters and numbers without having accomplished anything of real value.

Take a moment to consider. This happens to "good people" too. And it happens with good things. It is when we allow those good things to become a hindrance and not a help to our relationship with God that we find ourselves in deep, deep trouble. We are so easily consumed by the possessions and cares of this world so that they eventually become more important to us than the one true Treasure. Don't spend your life chasing toys or trash because there are pleasures at God's right hand that are far better and last far longer. When we spend ourselves for and on Him, we will never find ourselves empty, we will never feel any need for anything else, and we will never come up short.

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