Whether it’s thick-papered, glossy ads for various products, a truck with rotating billboards along the side, advertisements on the Internet, or my recent discovery of talking razor blade dispensers in some stores, so many products promise to make you become (or at the very least, seem to be) more hip, smarter, of the socially elite, happier, and/or fulfilled. I suppose the question must be asked, “If all this ‘stuff’ can meet our deepest needs, why do we still want more?”
This inability of material possessions, social position or human accomplishments to meet our needs did not arise with the age of pop-up advertising…it has always been so. Years ago, Mick Jagger sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” But long before that, around the early third century AD, we find the Roman leader Septimus stating, “I have been everything, and it is nothing.” Back up further, and we find the wisest man in the world writing, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on all the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind…” (Ecc. 1:11).
Strange how we pursue objects, titles, and recognition only to have them fail to meet our needs, yet we shake off the disappointment, dust our hands, and chase after another notion seeming to hold promise of satisfaction. We try our best to use a human-created means to meet a divinely created desire, yet come up short.
The conclusion of Ecclesiastes includes the statement: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (12:13b). The longing for something more is not met in what I can become on my own, but in knowing Who He is. The real reason that all the things can never satisfy is simple: they aren’t big enough. Only Christ is.