I have a confession to make: I'm a fan of the movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". I'm not sure why I like it so much, maybe it's the music or the 1930's period piece, or the fact that it's a Coen brothers film...but whatever the reason, I like the movie quite a bit. For those of you who may not know the film, the main plot centers on the picaresque journey of three fugitive companions who are trying to get their hands on a buried treasure. During their (mis)adventures they are confronted by a series of strange characters including one of my favorite characters, a blind man, who prophetically warns the trio that "the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find."
I know you didn't come here for a movie review, but please bear with me. I'm just setting the table for what I hope will be a spiritual connection. Each year in the life of RSBC, we intentionally choose January for a sermon series aimed at understanding the importance of and choosing to live into the spiritual disciplines in Christianity. This year, we chose the question: What Might God Do? to be the springboard into the reality of a rich and deep relationship with Christ for those who choose to say "yes" to Jesus in their pursuit of holiness.
But there is also another reality at play in the mix as well; another question that begs to be asked, namely, what is our motivation for doing what we do?
Our Hearts are Restless:
It's true. We have restless hearts. We are often struck by the thought that we were created for far more than what we have chosen to settle for in our lives. This manifests itself in many ways, but the restlessness we feel in life is a reality for most people. But here's the catch: even our thoughts are subject to our sin nature. So, even when our thoughts rightly wake us up from mediocrity, in the same breath they often lead us no further than thoughts like, "I deserve better than this" or "If I just try harder, then I can do whatever I set my mind to."
Now please hear me clearly. There isn't anything intrinsically wrong about thoughts like these, but when these thoughts fail to elevate above ourselves or our desires, there is a problem. Why? Because we were not created to be self-dependent or self-sufficient people. Scripture makes it clear that God created man to be in fellowship with him and to fully enjoy him forever. So, in order for this spiritual wake-up-call to be effective, the restlessness we feel must also be understood rightly, so as to not lead to exchange one path of dullness for another.
St. Augustine said it like this:
"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."
Until we understand this reality, we will continue to find disappointment rather than delight; even in our godly pursuits. A commitment to read the Bible more frequently is hollow, if the primary goal in our reading isn't to find satisfaction in Jesus. Making a daily habit of prayer is a vain pursuit, if our aim isn't to connect with Jesus. Going to war with the sin in our lives is pointless, if the main reason for it isn't to glorify God and fully enjoy him forever.
Restlessness in or hearts does not go away simply because we are doing godly things. Rather, the "doing" is the means of grace that God gives to us in order that we might find our joy in him.
Settling for Momentary Treasures:
Which brings us back to the movie. What the blind man on the handcar tried to help the Soggy Bottom Boys understand is this: often times the treasure we seek isn't the fullest treasure we were created to enjoy.
Again, please don't hear me wrong. These desires and lifestyle choices are not the problem. The problem is the treasure that we so often settle for. We were not created to be satisfied with temporal things, even good and godly things, and our heart will continue to feel restless until it finds rest in Jesus; the fullest and all satisfying treasure.
So, as you take aim with the rest of the RSBC body to faithfully pursue God this year and as you use the question, "What Might God Do?", to find the answer...make sure that your heart and your focus are on Jesus, the eternal treasure (Matt. 13:45-46) and then fight the urge (in your flesh) to settle for anything less than him. Our Savior is not a means to a greater treasure, but is instead the most precious treasure there is!
May our restless hearts find their rest in him.