This past weekend, Wes and I found ourselves fighting the crowds at a popular department store. If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of a ga-zillion people invading my personal bubble, but there I was, in the midst of the store, trying to find a few boxes in which to put Christmas gifts. Whilst we were waiting in line at the checkout, and we observed all the people wandering around picking up random items, I thought to myself how it’s entirely possible – and probably more common than I understand – that some people can have everything, and at the same time, have nothing.
As we head into the American Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I think the feelings of longing and emptiness are magnified. While some others seem to dread their approach, I find myself giving thanks to the Lord that I look forward to these beautiful seasons each year.
G.K. Chesterton once said, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to accumulate more, and the other is to desire less.” During our devotions last week, this quote struck both Wes and myself. How often do we look to fulfill our longings with things? To fill an empty spiritual void with relationships?
The truth is, there’s really only one way to be completely satisfied, and that’s when you have a personal relationship with our Creator and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, I guarantee the rest of your life will have some sort of void that no earthly “thing” can fill.
Looking at it from a Biblical perspective, there are several times throughout the Bible when we’re told of the strength of a relationship with God and His love and how powerful that is over “things”. Consider these three instances in the book of Proverbs:
- Proverbs 15:16 “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.” You may not have much, and as long as you have a relationship with Jesus, you don’t need much! Little is better where God is than greatness without Him.
- Proverbs 15:17 “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” You may not have much, but if you have God’s love in your heart and you share that with a loved one or your family, a humble dinner of herbs is better than superficial relationships and a fattened calf!
- Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices and strife.” Your house may not be as large as your neighbour’s, or as grandeous, but as long you have God’s love in your heart, you could live in a shack and still be satisfied. Some people think that taking out a million dollar mortgage will somehow bring satisfaction, but there is no satisfaction like a relationship with the Lord.
You may find yourself asking how it’s possible to “desire less” as G.K. Chesterton said. Really, it’s not that hard when you know the Lord as your Saviour. I love the unattributed quote that says, “it is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.” It’s so true. When you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you learn the values of gratitude, humility, and love.
It may not always be easy to live with an attitude of gratitude, but when I find myself unsatisfied, or thinking, “If we could just have this or be able to do this, I’d be happy,” I have to catch myself. It’s only when I take the time to purposefully count my blessings and consider all the ways the Lord is working in my life, that I truly become content, and stop longing for things that I don’t need.
My challenge to you as we enter this holiday season, is to start your own prayer journal – trust me, it will quickly turn in to a gratitude journal, and in times of discouragement, you’ll be able to look back and consider the Lord’s goodness in your own life.