Yesterday at The Gathering, we talked about “Trivial Pursuits” that steal our attention, our energy and our time and offer little benefit in return. We talked of how there are a lot of things that may be good things, but if we’re honest, have to be put in the “trivial” category because of the place of importance they have in our lives.
I suppose a definition of some sorts is in order here: a trivial pursuit is anything that comes in the place of God in which we seek lasting satisfaction, purpose or fulfillment for our lives. I bring in God to that equation because when we are seeking lasting satisfaction, purpose or fulfillment in these things we are pursuing, we are, essentially, asking those things to be a god for us…something worthy enough that we can devote our allegiance to, serve, give our time and energy to in hopes of receiving the “blessing” of meaning from in return.
When we’re talking in terms of looking for ultimate satisfaction from something we devote ourselves to, nothing is worthy of being put in the place of a god that can be either lost or destroyed. While we often look for purpose in our jobs, relationships, projects, money, status, etc., using our criteria above, none is worthy of our complete devotion as a god because all of that can be lost or destroyed through either death, being layed off, down-turned economy, etc. So where is the meaning?
In comes Christ (and I’m not equating Christ with “religion.” Religion cannot offer lasting satisfaction either!). He says, “Follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men”. We (society at large) find something noble and worthy in meeting the needs of people, don’t we? Individuals and corporations give countless hours and money to helping to take care of people. Hollywood is enamored with it. There are numerous foundations established for that purpose and a growing list of causes on Facebook demonstrates it, as well.
I think this is the case because there is something that has been put within us that wants to care for others. In this, we find satisfaction and a purpose beyond ourselves. Yet, there is something that doesn’t quite seem completely satisfying if we stop and think that anything we do for an individual is temporary at best. All I’m doing is giving a little comfort for a short term. That can make all of our work still feel somewhat futile.
What if there is more? What if I can meet someone’s needs by feeding them and clothing them, by helping them fight desease and providing other necessities, but also make a difference in them that will last for eternity? Now that’s making a difference! That’s what I find in the God-man, Jesus. I get to find satisfaction in Him, knowing that He is going to take care of me regardless of the economy or relational ups and downs, instability in the world, at large, or anything else that might come my way (John 10:10, Matthew 6:19-34).
Then, on top of that, He gives me a reason for living…a purpose or mission, if you will. I am to go and help others find that same fulfillment that lasts (Matthew 28:19-20). That’s real living because then, if I keep that as my motivator, nothing I do is trivial. All of the things I enjoy doing that are neutral, in and of themselves (hiking, fishing, golfing, etc.), including the relationships I have, whatever job I have, along with every other part of my life takes on meaning. When it’s part of my mission, I am no longer engaging in trivial pursuits but real life that provides satisfaction and purpose and, usually, a whole lot of fun along the way.
So, maybe it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror, get real honest with who we are what we’re doing with the time and energy we’ve been given, and give up playing Trivial Pursuit with our lives.