As I looked around me at all the things that people had brought to the top, things no longer wanted, things broken, things that had lost their shine and appeal I considered how it must have been in the beginning, when eyes were first laid upon that prize. I could almost hear the voices as they shopped, the justifications for why this thing was important and why they simply must have it.
" This will look so nice on me, I will feel pretty, it compliments my eyes.", "I have worked hard and I deserve this reward.", "This will look so nice in the living room."......and on and on and on.
We humans are always seeking something, some shiny thing, some purchase that can once and for all fill the empty hole within our hearts. New furniture, new kitchen appliances, new clothes, new electronics, the latest fad, the perfect toy. I cannot count the times where I have yearned for something, thinking of how useful it will be, how much it will change my life, how much my children will enjoy it, and I have justified a thousand reasons why it was wise and right to buy it.
And yet there I stood upon a mountain of these things, broken, rusty, our little pickup truck full with our own contributions to this growing mountain.
Things never satisfy for long. There may be the moments of happiness you grasp onto as you behold this new acquisition but it will fade. The thing will degrade over time, it will become worn, or in some cases it will lose its appeal and become just another item to hang your coats on or to slide underneath your bed. At some point it will end up on some mountain of trash, buried beneath the dirt, forgotten, broken, useless, just trash.
I still crave things, I think we all do. I still get caught up in the shiny things sometimes. Like that new SLR camera I have really been wanting, and the justification I tell myself about how awesome my photos will be if I could only have a real camera instead of one on my cell phone. And things in themselves are not wrong, we need couches to sit upon, if our stove breaks we need a new one, and it is good to wear nice clothes if one can afford them. I guess what struck me as I stood there on top of that mountain of trash was the excess of it all, an enormous mountain of cast off things.
I have chased many things over the course of my life, all of them in that crazy elusive pursuit of happiness. During that often disappointing chase I was found by Jesus and discovered the real key to contentment and life. Happiness will always be elusive and dependent upon the shiny things, the weather, relationships, finances and other fading things, but Jesus is joy personified, He is peace in a person. The pursuit of Christ is far more valuable than the pursuit of happiness and in pursuing Him you will find in most cases you are happy. It won't be the things that can break that make it so, it will be the knowledge of Him that makes your heart sing! He remains the only thing that can and does fill the hole within the human heart forever.
The key to happiness and contentment is far simpler than most imagine. It is in Christ.
Things break, things tarnish, things lose their appeal.....but God and His Word stand forever.