Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you were satisfied? I am not talking about desiring satisfaction, but actually being satisfied. The difference is a matter of perspective. Take a moment to stop and think how this perspective would change your life. Just imagine with me how this would flip our world on its head. The smartest guy that ever lived attempted to do just this. It is what he discovered that gives hope that a person can experience true satisfaction.
It seems at any given time there are “things” that would make your life great. Yes, if you could just have the few things you want, you would be satisfied. The thing(s) that you think would make you happy are varied and involve a major purchase, maybe it is physical healing, or possibly the restoration of a relationship or a miracle or other unmet desires. Now I am not saying we should not desire any of these things, as long as they are not sinful. What the Bible teaches; however, is that those “win the lottery” things (or having your fantasy fulfilled) will never bring lasting satisfaction. I was reminded of this as I prepared for lasts week sermon from Ecclesiastes. I was reminded as Solomon put it, “All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” Ecclesiastes 1:8. Solomon reflects on his failed experiments to find satisfaction in temporal things alone. The idea behind the term “weariness” is not necessarily hard work, but some something that never stops. It keeps on going, like the examples that he uses in the previous verses. He then offers three illustrations from life that demonstrate the weariness of life.
All three illustrations look at an aspect that is never satisfied. It is the second illustration of “the eye is not satisfied,” and the third “nor the ear filled with hearing” that help us to understand the first illustration. The reference to the eye and the ear is that they can never be satisfied. They are not like a bucket that can be filled, rather more like an open ended pipe. The phrase “a man cannot utter it” in the same way carries the idea that “we can always keep speaking.”
The first illustration reminds us of this world’s endless torrent for words. There is so much talking that produces no real satisfaction. If you follow the news you encounter this same thing, a bunch of repetitive talk. They then bring in so called experts that say that same thing. It does become quite “wearisome.” How many of us are perpetrators or victims of this weariness of words? Jesus reminded the woman at the well, and us, that satisfaction is found in the God’s Word which points us to a relationship with God!
The second illustration reminds us of our culture’s need for endless visual stimulation. They will soon need to surgically implant a screen to our face. We have become addicted to media, and we are never satisfied. I experienced this years ago when I realized that I could not stop watching TV. Warren Wiersbe made the point this way, “Of course, the entertainment industry is grateful for this human hunger for novelty and takes advantage of it at great profit.”
And the third illustration reminds us of the incessant noise that floods our world. It is as if we are afraid of silence. Each of these illustrations I believe challenges the follower of Jesus to evaluate how the culture is keeping them from developing a meaningful relationship with Christ. How much time do you spend listening to solid Bible teaching, or engaging in spiritual conversation or prayer rather than listening to talking heads multiplying words that from an eternity perspective are worthless? How much time do you spend in God’s Word as opposed consuming meaningless content from a screen? And do you have a time of silence and solitude that allows God to speak into your life? Real satisfaction, as Solomon discovered, can only be found in a growing relationship with Jesus!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson