Christian singer Jeremy Camp’s latest single is titled “Let It Fade” and in the first verse he asks, “Have you helped yourself to everything that’s empty?” That question really strikes home with me because for a very long time, fifteen years to be exact, I helped myself to everything and anything that left me feeling empty. If I’m not careful I can still do it today. This world not only helps itself, but it also promotes things that are empty. Emptiness is a strange phenomena today in a world of everything. However, it is only strange if you are looking through worldly eyes. When you look through spiritual eyes you see the truth:
“I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure’; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter— ‘Madness!’; and of mirth, ‘What does it accomplish?’ I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3)
Looking back on his life King Solomon had lived a life most men would envy and yet he called his life meaningless. He had power, riches, and women. He had wisdom unparalleled in mankind; he was a scientist and he built the first temple. Nevertheless Solomon came to understand there was more to life than what he had sought out during his lifetime:
“He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
Pursuing the American dream in and of itself is not a bad thing; being successful and providing for your family is important. The ability to help others with what God has blessed you is one of the joys of life. However, the perception of what the American dream is has caused many to stumble and some to go astray. There are places in the Middle East today where shop owners still work for their daily bread; if they acquire it by 1:30 in the afternoon, they close down their shop and go home to their family.
An honest day’s work is a reward all men should experience. There are some who are physically incapable, but there are others who avoid labor at all costs and allow others to provide for their needs. On the flip side are men who are possessed with attaining all they can and yet joy and peace of mind escape them:
“The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12)
Christians do need to be careful to not think that the poor are the only true spiritual ones. Poverty does not make you anymore spiritual than riches makes a Christian less. It is all in our attitudes about what life is truly about. If we dedicate our lives to glorifying God and learn to be satisfied in either need or abundance, then our lives will be richer.
“He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.” (Proverbs 28:25)
Money is a necessity, but it not a nectar. It will not satisfy you nor will it bring you fullness of life. The emptiness you feel cannot even be filled by the love of a spouse or family. It cannot be filled by your career or your colleagues. Success in these areas can bring momentary happiness, but the spiritual joy your soul craves can only be filled by Jesus Christ.
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)
We can search the world over trying to fill the emptiness in our lives with what on the surface seems wonderful things, but again remember that material things are not good or evil. It is the condition of our heart and our attitude towards worldly things that cause the emptiness. Show me a lost man with the perfect life in the eyes of the world and I’ll show you a man who at night still is confused by his feeling of emptiness.
Is that you? Do you think all your problems will be solved if you could just get the perfect job, marry the perfect wife, or own the perfect home? These things are important, but they in the end will leave you spiritually empty. Have you given your life to Jesus Christ and surrendered all to Him? Can you face your need with the faith that God is in control? Can you live in abundance without obsession and know that all you have is because of God? Does your life glorify God no matter your circumstances?
If you’ve been helping yourself to everything that’s empty, then turn today to Jesus Christ and be filled to overflowing.
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers