My neighbors across the street have a dog named Beau who considers himself to be the watchdog for the neighborhood alerting us to strangers, mail carriers, other dogs out for a stroll, and various and sundry wildlife that catch his attention. Whenever I pull in my driveway and get out of the car, I thank him for his diligence.
A couple of days ago as we stood out in their yard chatting, Lawson, an energy-infused soon-to-be five-year-old tossed a stick for Beau. Now, Beau loves to fetch a stick. This stick however took an unexpected trajectory that ended up on the roof of the porch.
Undeterred, Beau leaped onto the porch, head pointing straight up, trying to figure out how to get to the stick. He couldn’t see it, but he was smart enough to know where it was. He frantically jumped and searched and stretched, but to no avail. The stick was unreachable not matter how persistent Beau might be, and persistent he was.
I had to leave before Beau gave up his hopeless quest for his unseen prize, but I walked away thinking how much like Beau we can be. We long for things that are out of our grasp. We work and strain and fret over the unseen prize that we are convinced will somehow satisfy us. But that stick was just a chew toy. It had no nutritional value. It could not give him the calories or nutrients necessary for survival. He didn’t really need it, but he really, really wanted it.
As we consider our lives and those things that we strive after and fret over, do they have true and lasting value? Do they add anything to our lives that make it richer, better, and fuller? Are we spending all our efforts pursuing some elusive desire while ignoring the deepest desire of our souls?
We read in the Psalms – “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for thee, O God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2) “My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is not water.” (Psalm 63:1) “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25)
We are given to misplaced desires, chasing after things that won’t much matter in the end. The writer of Ecclesiastes calls is “chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)
God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah – “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:12-13)
Beau’s a good dog, but in this case we shouldn’t be like Beau. Beau desperately wanted something that could not truly meet his needs and did everything within his power to get it. We are too often on that same pursuit.
Take some time today to think about the things you are longing for, those goals you are pursuing and pouring your life out for. It is not wrong to want things or to work toward goals, unless we are ignoring what is truly best. Will we end up with everything we’ve ever wanted but not that which we truly need? And worse, will we unintentionally teach our children and grandchildren to pursue that which cannot ultimately satisfy?
Remember the words of Jesus – “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
[All Scriptures is quoted from the English Standard Version]
[Image by @mockupgraphics]