A lesson from the disco ball of life

As I child of the 1970's and an teenager in the 1980's, the fads that were so popular then seem so cheesy when viewed from the lens of 2015. I can vividly remember a time when my brothers and I were convinced that our lives would be woefully incomplete if we didn't have a strobe light that our neighbor had put up for sale. Yes, a strobe light. Think disco skating at the roller rink.

We devised a plan to make seashell jewelry and sell it in the neighborhood until we had raised enough money to buy this most coveted possession. Our entrepreneurial plan worked to perfection and it wasn't long until we joyfully presented a jar full of change to our neighbor in exchange for the amazing strobe light that would send all of our neighborhood pals into fits of jealous.

Excitedly, my brothers set the strobe light up in our garage and we took turns roller skating around on the concrete floor as the intermittent light flashed all around us. What a life-changing experience this was! Except that it really wasn't. As you can probably imagine, it took only a few days until the joy of our strobe light fizzled out and us fickle boys found another cause to pursue that we believed would make our lives better for sure.

Don't laugh, you've been there too although your story and your pursuits are different. For some of you, that prize that you strain for is that job or the success that it will bring that will most certainly give your life the meaning, purpose, and security you have been longing for. Then there are others who believe that the right relationship, the cool car, the meaningful friends, the best grades, etc. ad infinitum, will make your life so much more...better.

But better never comes with those things, does it? In fact, when you finally "arrive" the only thing there to meet you is a new set of expectations and goals that you will have to pursue to make your life even better than it is now. Solomon, perhaps the wisest and wealthiest king to ever roam the planet, sought every worldly pleasure that can be imagined just to see if these pursuits and riches would bring him more purpose and meaning to his life. His states his final conclusion as he pens these first words in the book of Ecclesiates:
"Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless." (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
Here's what this means for you and me. Money, possessions, success, abilities, relationships, accomplishments, and goals are not bad things. BUT, when they become the primary source of your purpose and satisfaction in life then they become evil. Truthfully, they become your idols. 

When we seek to find satisfaction and meaning in anything or anyone other than God, we too will come to the conclusion that all of our pursuits are meaningless. They simply don't deliver on the goods. Sure, we will have a good time for awhile and may be even able to enjoy some of the finer things in life, yet none of these can possibly offer us ultimate or eternal satisfaction. Only God can do that.

When the mystique of our strobe light wore off, I put it in a box on a shelf and forgot all about it. I'm sure at some point it either was given away or thrown in the garbage. For a few days it was pretty awesome, but it has had no lasting impact on my life.

God, on the other hand, has changed me in ways that no pursuit or possession could possibly hope to achieve. When my eyes were opened to my desperate need for God to be my purpose, I saw that my sin - which had kept me from knowing God - was staring me straight in the face. It was then that I realized that Jesus was the only One capable of taking my sin upon Himself and freeing me from the debt that it had placed upon me. Once Jesus saved me, I was able to see clearly for the first time that all of the idols I had lined up in my life in an effort to find ultimate satisfaction were simply lifeless objects that had no power at all. 

Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, all of us have idols to which we attach value. Sometimes our grasp slackens and we let them go, clinging to Jesus with all that we have. But there are times where we clutch these idols so tightly that we truly believe we would die without them. But to this we ultimately realize it is all "Meaningless!" Relationships, success, money, sex, achievement - all of these are God's good gift to us but these creations can never replace the Creator or satisfy like He can.

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