There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time . . . Luke 18:29-30
My family once went to one of those all-you-can-eat Brazilian steak houses, where I ate to the point of discomfort. I won’t need to eat for a week. A half hour later, we found ourselves at an ice cream shop, where I just had to try the birthday cake flavor. I wasn’t hungry, but still, I wanted more.
This is our nature, to continually pursue pleasure, happiness, and satisfaction. Some of us seek it in drugs, while others use sex, gambling, food, money, or even shopping. We desire lasting joy, but we settle for immediate gratification, because it’s easier. Sometimes we’re trying to fill a void, eating and drinking to treat a low self-esteem or despair. Other times though, like me in the ice cream shop, we don’t feel bad, we just want more.
Is it wrong to seek satisfaction? It often seems that God gave us appetites that he wants us to spend a lifetime denying. Do we have to be miserable in this life just so we can earn paradise in the next?
In my drug use, I knew I needed to change, but I knew change was going to be miserable. If all I was offered in return for the pain of getting sober, was a promise of the afterlife, I’m not sure I would have done it. I needed to know that following God was going to reward me here, in this life.
This is exactly what Jesus promised in today’s passage. He insisted that whatever we surrender following God cannot compare with what we’ll receive in return – in this life.
In doing things my way, I lost everything. In the disaster, I tried to bargain with God, asking for my job and marriage back. He didn’t promise that, but he did promise that my life would improve if I abandoned my addiction and followed him. I didn’t get my job back. I got a better one. I did get my faith and family back. It was only in surrendering the life that I thought I wanted, that I found the life God wanted – which turned out to be more satisfying than anything I could have manufactured.
It’s not wrong to seek satisfaction. We just need to find it in the right place.
Coming soon – on or about February first – The Seeds of the Spirit will transition to a new website, Faith in the Struggle. As the reader, you won’t need to do anything differently. The old address will direct to the new one and if you read by email, you should still receive it in your inbox every day. Faith in the Struggle will, of course, be posted on Facebook as well. Thanks for reading and please continue to share those posts you find helpful!