A little boy stayed overnight at his aunt’s house. In the morning, she asked what he wanted for breakfast. “Oh, I’d love your pancakes,” he replied. “When we have pancakes at home, I only get three, but when I’m at your house, you let me eat as many pancakes as I want.”
Soon the aunt was piling pancakes on the boy’s plate, and he was eating them as fast as he could. By the time he had eaten his tenth pancake, his pace had slowed considerably. In the middle of eating number eleven he came to an abrupt halt. His aunt asked, “Don’t you want some more pancakes?” With a pained expression on his face, the boy looked at this aunt and said, “Oh no, I don’t want any more. In fact, I don’t even want the pancakes I’ve already eaten.”
Friends, sometimes we find that getting what we think we want in life isn’t so much fun after all. Becoming wealthy, being successful in one’s career, having a lot of friends, or being involved in a lot of recreational activities are goals many of us have, yet even when these goals are met, many find that life still seems very empty. Lottery winners tell of how having a lot of money has made them not more happy, but less. Champion athletes tell of how quickly the feelings of joy evaporate. One football player, sitting in the locker room just two hours after his team had won the Super Bowl asked, “OK, so who do we get to play next?” Getting what we really deep down long for often seems very elusive.
It is important to realize that the problem is not that we want too much out of life, but rather that we are often content with too little. As C.S. Lewis said, “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. We are like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
God, our loving creator, wants us to experience true joy every day we are on this planet. Yet we are not going to find that fulfillment in money, things, family, friends, college degrees, fame, vacations, entertainment, or recreation. God Himself is the source of joy. As Psalm 16:11 says, “Lord, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The way to experience true joy is to trust in Jesus Christ and seek to live in a way that pleases Him. Only then will our hunger for life truly be filled.
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church