I Can’t Get Me No….Satisfaction: Why the Pursuit of Things Leaves Us Still Hungry

Posted: December 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Luke 6:24-26 — Have you ever noticed that it often takes hours to prepare a meal but only just a little while to eat what has been prepared? When I think of fond memories of Thanksgiving or Christmas, it is the family get-togethers. The guys are all in the living room watching football (Thanksgiving) or basketball (Christmas Day) and the ladies are in the kitchen building the feast. Classic Americana. The ladies are enjoying working together and NOT having to watch sports while the men are enjoying not having to explain what just happened. This part of the family Thanksgiving or Christmas seems to take a long time. The food preparation takes longer than the food eating. Isn’t that the way with so many things in life? That kind of idea seems appropriate to what Jesus is telling us in the first half of the verse, Luke 6:25.

Jesus says, “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.” The concept of the Thanksgiving meal preparation vs. the Thanksgiving meal eating (and the same with Christmas) seems to speak loudly here. In America, we have become so consumed with the pursuit of temporary riches that we have forgotten eternal things. We spend entire lives building and building our asset lists and what have we built. When it’s time to eat, it does not last as long as it took us to pursue it. The satisfaction of our hunger for things is only temporarily satisfied. All the hard work to get that next big thing seems a little empty when we get the next big thing. In the pursuit of the American dream, we have lost the ability to appreciate where we are at right now. Jesus is not against ambition. Jesus is not against being wealthy. However, when we become so enraptured with the pursuit of things that we lose sight of God and the pursuit of things becomes our god, we lose sight of the kingdom of God.

When we look to things to make us happy when can fill ourselves temporarily. That new house will make you full temporarily. That new car will make you full temporarily. That new higher paying job will make you full temporarily. In our pursuit of things, new and better, faster and quicker, new and improved, we can give ourselves temporary satisfaction but permanent debt. The debts continue to mount as we fill ourselves temporarily. We become traders of debt. We trade-in, trade-up so that we can delay ever really paying off anything. Houses and cars are rarely fully paid for today. Up until the 80’s, it was a badge of honor in your community when you paid your mortgage off. People would often have mortgage burning parties. Now, to refinance through trading up and pushing out debt deadlines is the way we live. We do not save anymore. We want immediate satisfaction. We don’t want to delay our satisfaction like the generations before us. When is enough, enough? We have more and more things that our parents and grandparents never dreamed of, but yet we are less happy. Divorce is at an all time time. Alcoholism and drug abuse are rampant. We have more things to fill us but we are less content. There is always something better to fill us. We keeping seeking it. We keep consuming it. We keep getting full temporarily but nothing lasts. Just like with the huge thanksgiving feast. We get full temporarily after all that work. But we still eat another meal because we are hungry again.

Jesus says that those of us who fill up on the empty calories of temporary things will be hungry in eternity. Jesus says that the pursuit of things cannot become our god. If we ignore God and chase after things of this life and make them the most important thing, we will find an eternity where we will be eternally hungry – separated from God in the fiery lake of hell where desperation and hunger are the order of eternity there. When we seek the kingdom of God in this life, we will be filled eternally in the eternal portion of our existence. We will be full eternally. When we sacrifice here, we will be rewarded there. When we think more of our neighbors needs than our own, we will be rewarded there. And, changing our focus from things of this world to Jesus while we are here in this life, man, does it change your perspective on the need of things. It changes our perspective what we HAVE to have to be happy. Fullness in Jesus is different from the fullness of a new house, a new car, the jet ski and the boat. On vacation here in the Florida Keys this week, you get to see people who have big fine houses by the ocean, huge cruising or fishing boats, Corvettes in the driveway. The old me before I met Christ would wonder what I was doing wrong because I did not have these things. Now, I could really care less. Sure, those things would be nice don’t get me wrong. But those things by themselves are not what make people full. They may give fullness temporarily but they do not give fullness eternally.

In Christ, I do not need these things. In Christ, I would rather have less debt and more cash so that I can bless others through my generosity. In Christ, having less debt means that I have the flexibility to serve Him wherever, whenever He calls me to go. In Christ, I want to share the love of Christ with others and meet their needs rather than seeking to make my own kingdom of things. In Christ, I have my eye on what matters. Simpler living. Contentment is much and contentment in less. Certainly, again, I must add Jesus is not against us being wealthy. He is however, against us making things a priority before Him. There are some wealthy folks I have known in my lifetime that are the greatest Christian men that I have ever met. They would gladly give away their fortunes to meet needs around them and God continues to bless them to this day.

Are you trying to make yourself full today on things that do not matter in eternity? Do you get full when you get that next big toy only to find that fullness is temporary? Do you need to put Jesus at the top of your priority list. It is time now to make that decision? I keep coming back to Matthew 6:33 because of its simplicity. It is a direct imperative. It is pretty simple what it commands us to do. It is straighforward. Why do we seem to get it all wrong though…seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first and then all these other things will be added.

Father, help me to seek your will for my life daily. Help me to seek your will for the world around me daily. Help to teach others about the priority that you wish us to have for our lives. Help me to help others reset their viewpoint of life. Help me to teach others that the rat race is not what you intended for them. Help me to teach others that there is fullness and joy in you that can never be matched by things. Amen.

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