How many gadgets and small appliances did you purchase because you were convinced (or persuaded to believe) they would make your life easier and better? How many items of clothing do you have hanging in your closet or stuffed in a drawer—but don’t wear? You bought them because they were ‘in’ and we all know being ‘in’ will make us happier and more attractive, right? And what about all those apps available that make living life so much easier? You know—the ones that allow you to skip checkout lines? Turn the lights in your house off and on? FYI: I still can’t wrap my head around that one. Flip the switch, people! It’s not that hard.
Why, though? Why do people spend waste so much time, effort, and money pursuing, purchasing, and participating in these things? The answer: the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. The problem, though, is that these things cannot and will not be found in any appliance, gadget, or app. Nope—not even (fill in the blank).
Don’t get me wrong. Technology, like most everything, has its good and bad points. For example, I thank Jesus every single day for Facetime because it allows us to have a stronger connection and bond with our faraway kids and grandkids. And yes, with it just being the two of us now, I use my toaster oven more often than I did when our house was full. But no matter how you look at it, the bottom line is this: there’s no substitution for the real thing. In other words, options shouldn’t always be optional.
Especially when it comes to our relationship with God.
I was reminded of that this morning during my personal Bible study time. Each morning I spend time in both the Old and New Testament. Currently I am (once again) reading through the book of Psalm in the OT. This morning it was Psalm twenty-three (for the multi-millionth time). But for a reason I won’t take the time to get into, verse two was like one of those I-should-have-had-a-V8 knocks on the head.
“He makes me like down….” (emphasis added).
He makes me? Why would the LORD have to make me lie down in green pastures, i.e., enjoy and be nurtured by his blessings? Why???????
Upon further searching of the meaning in the original Hebrew text, I was reminded that the LORD does not make—as in force us—to lie down. Or anything else, for that matter. Instead, David wrote that he was choosing to follow the LORD’s leading/direction so that he would be in God’s presence, which in turn meant that David would want for nothing. In other words, being led to, and remaining in God’s pastures and water supply (metaphorically speaking) enabled David to say, “…I shall not want.”
David chose to see the world’s options for happiness, fulfillment, contentment, and all those other words we use to describe what everyone wants and searches for, as non-options. He made this choice because he knew that all those things we want and search for aren’t options when we have a genuine relationship with the LORD, but rather they are the natural consequences of being his.