A Full Heart
When was the last time your heart felt full? As I ask that, I am also aware of the frustration that could come with the question. It’s so subjective. What does it even mean to have a full heart?
Let me clarify the expression. When was the last time you were keenly aware of feeling satisfied? That’s better, perhaps. What were you doing, or reflectively past tense, what had you done that made you feel so “full?” Who were you with?
I really wasn’t kidding last week about my affection for Wayne Hart. We even told Wayne about making last weekend’s sermon! I remember loving snow. So much so that my motor-loving Dad bought me a very used snowmobile for my birthday one year. I know, a snowmobile in Kentucky is incredibly unpractical, but I loved it. For years, I passionately waited every winter for snow. I can still feel the deep satisfaction of being on the machine in the country or on a frozen lake. It was never better when snow was both flying and on the ground. Perhaps most surreal was when the moon was as full as I was and reflecting brilliantly off of the snow cover on those cold nights. Even now my heart races at the thought.
It dawns on me as we study Ecclesiastes that the delight I experienced on the snowmobile of my youth went along with the anticipation of weather forecasts that promised me the opportunities. It was all so very wrapped in transcendence. That is what we are after I believe…even the Teacher of Ecclesiastes…even Mick Jagger. Who better than King Solomon and the immortal (it appears!) rock and roll royalty of the Rolling Stones to tell us that “satisfaction” is so elusive. It’s only when we have the means to test everything that might satisfy us that we can truly testify to whether or not it is attainable.
Now that I’m older, it grieves me to realize that what brought me such passionate transcendence from a wintry forecast now brings me a barb of aggravation. I don’t have time to deal with snow and ice anymore. What was a surprise visit by a dear friend when I was younger has become an annoying neighbor in my adulthood. What happened? Nothing really. It’s just the natural progression of looking for lasting satisfaction in this world and never being able to find it completely.
If God made us for Himself, and I believe He has, then nothing that we can enjoy in this life can ever give us lasting satisfaction. It is better, says the Teacher, to enjoy the gifts of God for what they are. Whatever we do that brings us enjoyment and can be rendered a gift from God will also be received with thanksgiving. It is part of our relationship with the Creator while we are still on earth. But make no mistake, God made you for Himself, not His gifts. It is not in His nature to let those gifts get in the way of our relationship with Him. It is, I believe, the main reason that the stuff of earth only satisfies for a while. The transcendence we seek can only be found in the Giver, not the gifts.