As I pull my keys out of my pocket right now, I find that I have 10 keys on this particular key ring (plus, I keep another key ring in the car that holds about 15-20 other keys.) It is interesting that some of these keys are very different from the others. And other keys seem very similar to yet others in the group. Still, no two of these keys will open the same lock.
In fact, on my key ring, I have four Schlage keys. Even though these look the same and, in fact, will “fit” into the same locksets, they will not open the same locksets. They are intentionally cut differently, though they may have some similarities.
On a similar note, have you ever gone to fill in those “blanks” on on-line credit card submissions, only to find that the month (or some other piece of information) was not going in as it should? In other words, your submission was being rejected … continuously.
I get this a lot! My birth month is August, meaning that in some circumstances, I enter “08” and others, I enter “Aug” or “August.” What is interesting is the fact that it is not an “either/or” situation; it is one or the other and the improper choice will just not fit.
Now “what is this all about?” you may ask. I am always fascinated by individuals that are continually trying to fit things, stuff, people, deeds, etc. into an area of life where only one thing fits and works. The great philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal once said,
What else does this craving and this helplessness proclaim but that there was once in a man a true happiness of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him … though none can help since this infinite abyss can only be filled … by God Himself.1
St. Augustine of Hippo made a similar declaration: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”2
Many have attempted to surround themselves with friends and popular individuals in order to satisfy some inner urge to gain happiness that way; instead, they have often been met with dissatisfaction, disillusionment, and regret.
And yet others have attempted the path of the performance of great deeds, distribution of massive amounts of money to worthy causes, and others, even to the enactment of holy and self-sacrificial living, all for the purpose of gaining some amount of favor with God.
Jesus Himself addressed such quests with these words
Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12: 13-21 NLT)
The truth is this: God wants a relationship with us. And all of the stuff, friends, money, and deeds that we have or do … do not influence Him one bit. We can attempt to insert “August” in the slot that will only accept “08” all that we want but there is still only one thing that will fit in that particular box.
We can attempt to insert any key … or a key that “looks” like a good way (i.e. a different religion or philosophy … or even the performance of good works) and we will continue to find that it is only God and His grace that fit the slot, that fit the lockset, that fill the vacuum in each of our lives.
I want to encourage each one today to know that Jesus Christ is our ONLY answer and that the application of His grace in our lives is the ONLY way to true relationship with God.
While other things MAY have a place, it is ultimately … and ONLY Jesus that makes the real difference in our lives.
So as you wander on this journey of life, appreciate the gifts, appreciate the things, appreciate the friends, and appreciate the opportunities.
BUT don’t waste time on the religions. Don’t waste time on the philosophies. Don’t waste time on the “feel good” side-ventures of self-help and positive thinking.
1http://www.silverbirchchurch.com/new-to-church/that-god-shaped-hole/. Accessed November 11, 2014
2https://trustingortripping.wordpress.com/tag/god-shaped-hole/. Accessed November 11, 2014