“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17
Some people have the world at their disposal. They could have any and everything imaginable that rests under the sun. Glamour and luxury is commonplace for them. Flashing lights, social status, first class flights, professional chauffeurs in the most extravagant vehicles, the most exquisite food and drink is an every day reality for them. Even the common person, happy with their means can feel like they have everything under the sun that they could ask for. So, why do we want more?
For some, it might be the bigger house. It might be the fancier car. It may be that potential promotion that’s so diligently worked for. It might be that dream home or vacation. Some of us dream of a perfect wedding ceremony and a family thereafter. Athletes determine to score more points, musicians aim to sell out arenas, actors pursue that illustrious Oscar nod, and it goes on. No matter what your occupation is, there’s a desire to do better and want more from it than what you started with.
“They tryin to get they ones, I’m tryin to get them M’s
One million, two million, three million, four
In just five years, forty million more
You are now lookin at the forty million boy”
“One million, two million, three million, four
In eighteen months, eighty million more
Now add that number up with the one I said before
You are now lookin at one smart black boy
Momma ain’t raised no fool
Put me anywhere on God’s green earth, I’ll triple my worth” – Jay-Z in “U Don’t Know”
Some of us are insatiable like Jay-Z. What’s he got to prove? Why is he still hustling? What does he really have want for? Some of us squander our resources like the countless celebrities that have lived outside of their means and ended up with nothing. Then there are the thrill seekers. Nothing fulfills them enough to satisfy them, so they start pursuing stimulation in bizarre places (think about all the celebrities busted with prostitutes). Lastly, and most tragically, there are those that have the world at their finger tips but feel so empty, that they don’t hold on to the life that they have. Those people are the suicide cases no one understands.
I’ve seen it in my own life. I’ve traveled over a lot of the country and it made me happy, but it was not enough. I’ve been to concerts in the hundreds, something that I love to do, but it was not enough. In the worst parts of my life, I drank a lot. I never found a bottle big enough to satisfy me. I gave myself over to lust and there was no lasting pleasure to be found in sex. I couldn’t make enough friends or throw enough parties. My very soul cried out for more. This unsettling feeling of needing more out of life and it feeling like an unattainable goal led me to behave very recklessly. I’m lucky to be alive to share this right now.
What I had to learn was we’re not made for these things. They’re not supposed to fulfill us. Finding your identity in things and/or activities cannot satisfy. It’s a false premise to build your life off of and those things will eventually fail you. What’s left for you when the very thing that you define yourself by fails you? For me and and some others, it led to what felt like an endless despair.
Material things, money, relationships, success, entertainment, transportation, a home, security, fashion… all those things are good things. Those are things we can use to make life better for ourselves and for those around us. All those things can potentially be blessings. But, we must see those things for what they are and see ourselves for who we are.
Who are we? We’re people made in God’s image. God freely gives us all of our blessings. It’s consistent that this same God says “it’s more blessed to give than to receive”. That’s why we celebrate the charitable and chastise the greedy. We were made to build one another up with our blessings and find our lives in Christ. Anything less will never truly satisfy. Anything less is not enough.