Many of you have probably watched Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy which portrays the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his obsession with the “precious ring of power,” which he calls “”My Precious.” The picture painted is one of greed, obsession, even insanity in the search for meaning, fulfillment and significance. In his love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in the human heart. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular (like the precious ring of power) or just a vague longing for “more,” we’re sure that once we finally get our “precious,” we’ll be satisfied. Tragically, what we thought would give us meaning and significance and wholeness leaves us feeling even emptier than before.
Ty Cobb, one of baseball’s all-time greats, made a revealing admission. He said, “For years I ate baseball, I slept baseball, I talked baseball, I thought baseball, I lived baseball.” But then he added, “When you get beyond those years of playing professional baseball, you can’t live on baseball.” Certainly there is a vast multitude of purposes or things to which we can devote our energies, but none of them, in the end, will prove sufficient. King Solomon, with his great wealth and position, tried everything the world had to offer and said: “So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me, because everything is futility and striving after wind. Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool…He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with the income. This too is vanity” (Eccl. 2: 17-19; 5:10).
Solomon concluded: “I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him…Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them’..The conclusion, when all has been heard, is fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person (Eccl. 3:14; 12:1,12,13).
We are each built for significance and meaning, and the problem isn’t that we search for it, but that-–too often—we search for it in all the wrong places such as position, power, prestige, riches, possessions, accomplishments. One pursuit alone gives enduring satisfaction and significance in life. The Apostle Paul expresses it in his letter to the Philippian believers: “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). Knowing Christ, trusting Christ, living for Christ, serving Him in whatever we do—this is the one and only pursuit that will fill that emptiness in our life and give it real meaning. Other things can provide “pleasure (and meaning) for a season” (Heb. 11:25) but ultimately leave us empty and longing for more. Only God can ultimately satisfy this longing heart of mine. He made us that way: to find our joy and satisfaction and fellowship in Him. Everything else falls far short. A man gave his grandson Jay a special T-shirt that he had really been wanting, for his birthday. He put it on right away and proudly wore it all day. When he appeared the next morning in the same shirt, his dad asked him, “Jay, does that shirt make you happy?” Jay replied, “Not as much as yesterday!”
That’s the problem with material acquisition: even the good things of life can’t give us the deep, lasting happiness we strongly desire. The world offers happiness and meaning through material accumulation or achievement but no material acquisition or accomplishment with accolades will continue to provide the satisfaction that we felt initially. That’s because we were made for God and nothing less than His filling our life will do. True satisfaction is found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And, in contrast to the riches and prestigious positions of the world which are only available to a small percentage of the people, God’s riches and becoming “children of God” are available to all. “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Ro. 10:13). God offers eternal life to all who will trust in Christ for salvation (Jn. 3:16). And to each one who receives Christ into their life, He “gives the right to become children of God” (Jn. 1:12). “And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Ro. 8:17a). And Jesus came not only to provide eternal life through faith in Him, but also “abundant life” to those who allow Him to be Lord in their life (Jn. 10:10). Wow, talk about providing meaning and significance! God offers us “His Precious” to become “Our Precious,” and we will never be disappointed or disillusioned with what God provides—plus it is forever, unending! The joy and satisfaction will never run out! PTL!! Amen!!
Forever One of His,