You have a goal. It excites you because you envision yourself winning. Perhaps you aim for a desired weight. Maybe you’re going to clean out the garage which has been waiting to be done for over a year. You might be training for the marathon to run that long distance. Maybe you’re working out at the gym to achieve good muscle tone. You’re going to cut out junk food and eat more salad. You’re going to read a good book rather than watch more television. The list of goals to be met are many. You can taste the thrill of pursuit — until you tire of the wait. You want instant success. Continued effort drags on. You sense the dream fading. Hope all but disappears. Discouragement takes the place of the adrenalin rush to achieve. You quit. Agony. Failure. Misery invades a once peaceful heart.
Of course, there are many pursuits that are indeed met. You sweat, feel the pain of the workout, spend the endless hours pursuing the dream — success! Oh the happiness! Then the next week arrives. The happiness already seems a memory of long, long ago. The adrenalin has stopped flowing. The thrill, the elation — totally gone. What has happened?
The wise King Solomon that we can read about in the Old Testament wrote the following concerning life’s pursuits of happiness: “Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless! What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and go but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind turns south and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.” These verses describe how monotonous life can be in spite of what we gain.
Have you ever felt this way? Attaining what you had set your sights on, only to know vast disappointment when the ecstasy fades away. I remember reading about Howard Hughes, one of the richest men, of times not so long ago. He had everything he could want but he died feeling the most miserable of men. How could this be?
My father, the late Dr. Chuck Blair, once wrote this: “It seems like man must feel his emptiness before he can partake of divine fullness. Only God is the soul’s refuge from the meaningless of life. When one has no hope of heaven, there is no profit in earthly labor.”
I have known those who have no earthly wealth at all, who struggle with daily needs; yet in joy and peace, they are overflowing in riches. Those who never pursue and attain unto the love of God, never know the fullness of joy. Those who know their Heavenly Father, but let the affairs of this world overcome them, lose their focus on what is important. Then they, too, drain of peace and lasting joy.
The pursuits of earth can bring a type of joy, but the pursuit of God brings riches that are literally — out of this world.