Satisfying our Hunger
“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.” – George Carlin
Ugh. When I read my assignment for this series and saw I would be needing to identify with the parable of the hidden treasure, I cringed. Jesus was an amazing teacher, but me not the quickest learner. Interpreting the parables can set my undiagnosed ADD into overdrive. I literally want to sip from the coffee cup with the aphorism, “I have the dumbs today.” However, I know my coffee cup does not suffice a reasonable excuse to understand the parables application, so here I go.
As a parent of three girls, my husband and I can feel overwhelmed by the marketing life style dolls have. Our three girls can’t dismiss the advertising magic, and fall hook line, and sinker; well played American Girl. In all sincerity, their dolls live a pretty lavish life, and our kids are always looking to expand their make believe world at prices out of this world. Their imagination is so strong it seamlessly blends fantasy and reality, (our children seem naïve to the fact their dolls are always smiling despite their setting). This Christmas, Grandma provided for one of the dolls a fictional mountain excursion by equipping her with an enchanting winter outfit, adorned by a warm parka, with a pair of ski boots, and perfectly polished pink skis; crazy, but it was warmly welcomed and despite the lack of snow here, imaginations prevailed.
The desire to search for things to make us happy is not much different than our girls vying for the next invented reality for their dolls. As parents, we know their adoration for these dolls will change and eventually they will be boxed and no longer loved on, joining the abyss of toys we cannot discard just yet. In similarity, we often approach life as always looking for something better and during the search we accumulate more and more, rarely purging ourselves of the old. As a result, we find our days seeking for something greater, but still giving our time and energy to drag our past. This flaw of logic leaves no room to focus on God and the joy He has for us to receive.
In the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl, Jesus, depicts the kingdom of heaven like a treasure in a hidden field and a merchant seeking fine pearls. We know when the man found the treasure in the field he joyfully sold all his possessions to purchase the field with the treasure; as did the merchant sell everything for the one pearl (Mathew 14: 44-46). The story illustrates when we find God we relinquish what we once held valuable; our worldly possessions and quests to momentarily fulfill our needs yields no comparison to the value in the warmth and joy we receive in having an everlasting unconditional love. These two men sold everything for God.
We can’t tape sandwiches over our body and assume it will satisfy our hunger any more than we can believe worldly things can produce the love only our Maker can provide. When we find God “our treasure or pearl” as the story depicts, we joyfully remove what occupied our time because, “God is love (1 John 4:8),” and since we are redeemed by His grace we no longer are obligated to be consumed by the burden of taking care of our past. The merchant did not have to sell anymore and the man no longer had to look for a field; a liberating feeling.
C.S. Lewis once said, “If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Many of us are searching, seeking, and exhausting ourselves because we have failed to recognize God as the true treasure. Then there are others who desperately need to experience a grace so satisfying it deafens the meaningless noise occupying their attention. As Christians, we are called to serve on this side of heaven so everyone can feel the indescribable fulfillment of the man and the merchant.
God is good, because even for people like me whose brain is networked by a semblance of error codes and redirection flashing “server not responding”, I can gently be reminded in the simplest of words, “Lord, you alone are everything I need (Psalm 16 :5).”
Beth L. Helm