What role do "the finer things of life" play in the experience of the Christian? You know, the humongous TV, the hi-tech stereo, campers, SUV's, and recreational boats and airplanes – to name a few! All have the capacity to enrich life but none can appease the restlessness in man's soul.
Many Christians pursue them as basic sources of life's satisfaction. Some have almost unlimited opportunity and assume that such is their right.
The finer things of life have no power to meet our need for fulfillment and wholeness. They seem to know their own limitations better than we do. The boredom and emptiness which come when one insists that they make life full, almost seems like their mockery of our vanity. Solomon's riches literally shouted "Vanity, vanity!" to him in his relentless pursuit of satisfaction through them. He demanded more of them than they could produce!
God has made it so. It's a law of life. The law of gravity says that if you jump out of an airplane without a parachute you will get hurt. It's unavoidable. It's a law that is just there. It remains unchanged regardless of man's wishes and will confirm itself to all who try to disprove it.
So it is with man's need for the zest of life. There's a law in this matter that no man has ever evaded.
The law of life regarding man's wholeness is this. As fuel is essential to an engine, so man's relationship with God is essential to human fulfillment. He made it so.
When sin came into the world, that relationship was broken. But then because of the love of the Father and the sacrifice of the Son, it was restored for all who believe.
When our primary need is met through our walk with God and worship of Him, the finer things become a wonderful embellishment. They demonstrate His providing power and His love and kindness toward us. They remind us of His generosity; draw our hearts toward Him; and activate within us, generosity toward others.
But they also have the capacity to become the focus of our attention. Detractors from the real source of life.
Because of the unrelenting craftiness of Satan, each can become a weapon in his hand. He will try to draw us away from our fellowship with God and turn His blessings into objects of our heart's affection. They become an essential ingredient of life to us rather than merely an embellishment. We could no longer be satisfied without them!
We should receive every good thing with a combination of gratitude and holy fear. Thankful for it but fearing its potential to capture us. Holding it loosely – always ready to give it up. Determined to live fully without it should that time come in God's plan. And humbled by the awareness that it will turn against us if we require too much of it.
We tend to honor folks who have many of the finer things of life. Actually, if they need them in order to feel good about themselves, it is a sign of weakness! If they allow such things to separate them from more ordinary people, and from God, they are proving their failure, not their success. We ought to be wiser about that.
If our life is missing some of the embellishments that we would enjoy, it might behoove us to ask. Or to search our hearts for obstacles. Or to wait. Or to find satisfaction in Him without them!
If we have much, but the day comes when we have little, we may want to remember that they were only icing on the cake. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we still have the Bread of Life. And nothing else really matters. Heaven is waiting!