From our earliest moments of life, we seek something we need or want.
An infant cries for its mother. A toddler, no longer satisfied with crawling as a means to explore, learns to walk. A teenager cannot wait to be older and independent. Throughout our development, we seek, we discover, we learn, we choose. This is normal and necessary, and when pursued properly, it is healthy.
Practically speaking, at different points in our lives we all seek different things: a new relationship, increased knowledge and understanding, a new job, a different home, an updated kitchen, a new car. The number of self-help books, do-it-yourself manuals, diet programs and exercise books is staggering.
If we are not careful, this pursuit of something new and different can become misdirected, unhealthy and can result in our losing the one thing that matters and the very reason for which we were created – our love for God and the attainment of Heaven.
If you could have all the material wealth and power the world has to offer or the knowledge and wisdom to live life according to the design of the God who made you, what would you choose?
King Solomon, writing in the Book of Wisdom, spoke of the common need of us all to seek God’s Wisdom.
“Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.” (Wisdom 7:7-8)
My wife shared with me one of those life lessons that changed everything for her. She learned early from her parents and teachers that we are made by God who loves us and desires us to live with him for all eternity in heaven. She realized that she was loved and that she was made for something more than this life. This single realization has guided her choices.
Do you know where you are going? Do you know how to get there? Are the things you pursue and the choices you make leading you to true happiness and heaven or are they leading you to illusory happiness and eventual destruction. Our moral and social choices should always keep out end in mind.
The Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of the Word of God as living and effective, able to discern out thoughts and desires.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our thoughts, knows our hearts, and sees us as we are. We encounter the Lord in the bible. This encounter helps us to learn the Lord’s ways and see ourselves as He does.
In this fallen world, we desperately need this help. Even when we know that we can never find true fulfillment in simply the material and psychological offering of this world, our spiritual sight and judgments are clouded. Spending time with God in prayer and His Sacred Scripture helps us to see more clearly.
“And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:21)
This rich young man in Mark’s Gospel is wise enough to know that despite all he has, there is something more he must do to find eternal life. He runs up to Jesus for guidance. Unfortunately, it appears the young man’s priorities are misguided and that he is unwilling to sacrifice his illusory riches for real treasure.
Our prayer each day should be for the wisdom that Solomon sought. The Holy Spirit will lead the way, if we will only follow.
Into the deep…
Questions for reflection
- What do I say I value in life?
- What do the choices I make and the way I live reveal about what I value in life?
- Are my stated values and lived values the same?
- What practical things can I change in my life to follow King Solomon’s example instead of rich young man’s example?
Image: “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler” (detail) by Heinrich Hofmann / Public domain