To Be Satisfied
“Top-ten List” of “You might be a male if . . .”
10. You know stuff about tanks.
9. You can go to the bathroom without a support group.
8. Someone forgets to invite you to something and he can still be your friend.
7. You can drop by to see a friend without bringing a little gift.
6. Another guy shows up at the same party in the same outfit, and you become lifelong buddies.
5. You have one wallet, one pair of shoes, one color, for all seasons.
4. There is always a game on somewhere.
3. Your pals can be trusted never to trap you with, “So… notice anything different?”
2. Something mechanical doesn’t work, and you bash it with a hammer and throw it across the room.
1. You can do your nails with a pocketknife.
To Be Satisfied - Matthew 14:13-21
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, during the month of Oct- Pastors appreciate month. My Son and I where invited out to a couples home for dinner. My wife and my two younger children where in Wisconsin visiting FAMILY. During the dinner I was filling up on roast beef and potatoes, and enjoying their fellowship. Then they handed me a gift, they encouraged me to open it and it was jelly beans – sugar free- I started eating just a couple, then handfuls ooh they where delicious. I could stop eating them, I knew I better stop but I just couldn’t. All the ways to Brainerd, my son and I where eating jelly beans, I just couldn’t get enough. When I left that home my stomach reminded me that I really hadn't needed any of those jelly beans. My mouth protested that I could even eat more...they tasted that good. And the box was empty!
The Search for Satisfaction
This morning I would like to share with you some reflections on satisfaction. Satisfaction is that feeling of well-being that tells us that we've no more wants or needs. When this feeling comes upon us, we're at peace with ourselves, others and the world. To be satisfied, is to be in a good place in our lives.
Philip Parham tells the story of a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. "Why aren't you out there fishing?" he asked.
"Because I've caught enough fish for today," said the fisherman.
"Why don't you catch more fish than you need?' the rich man asked.
"What would I do with them?"
"You could earn more money," came the impatient reply, "and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you'd have a fleet of boats and be rich like me."
The fisherman asked, "Then what would I do?"
"You could sit down and enjoy life," said the industrialist.
"What do you think I'm doing now?" the fisherman replied as he looked placidly out to sea.
But satisfaction, as anyone who has experienced it can tell you, is a very transitory and changeable feeling. When I first visited my friends' home I was hungry. I was not hungry for anything after the meal. I was satisfied. But then, I saw the box full of jelly beans…and my satisfaction went out the window. What was even worse was that when I left that home my stomach was very full... but my appetite for jelly beans had still not be satisfied.
Satisfaction with one's life is a marvelous place to be—but it doesn't last. For many of us, life becomes a series of quests for satisfaction. It's a repetition of a tragically negative cycle called the "if only" cycle.
If only I had that bike, a child might say. If only he or she would be my boy or girl friend, then I'd be happy. If only I had a better job. If only I weren't trapped in this house 24 hours a day. If only I were younger, or healthier. If only I were retired and could golf more. If only I would have retired a wealthy man. If only, if only. It's the endless search for satisfaction.
And it's complicated by the fact that sometimes when we're satisfied someone or something comes along, totally apart from my will, and disturbs or jars me out of my sense of well-being. Like commercials for hunting new equipment. To be satisfied only to see a commercial designed with the best psychology in mind to hook you or me into wanting more.
To be satisfied only to meet a friend who has that car or home or family I've always dreamed of...and suddenly, my satisfaction is no more.
No wonder the The Rolling Stones had a hit when they penned "I can't get no satisfaction." Their song touched a deep chord that is within all of us.
So the search for satisfaction continues.
Just about the time I'm truly satisfied with my clothing, they change from wide to narrow ties! Just about the time my children are happy with Levi's, they put out painter pants…and the quest begins anew.
It raises a question for us as Americans, for us as Christians: When is enough, enough???
To be satisfied is not to have everything; Howard Hughes' life ought to tell us that clearly, as well as the tragic lifestyles of many of the wealthiest of the world. To be satisfied is, I'm convinced, not an external reality... but something within us. To be satisfied is to have answered that very difficult question and to know when enough is enough.
Our Gospel text declares to us that satisfaction is a promise of God to us, even in the face of want.
Everyday reports were coming into a small South Africa community of those who were finding diamonds and making their fortunes. The bars were fall of the stories, as were the local newspapers. Diamonds, the world's most precious stone, just laying around on the surface waiting to be discovered.
A young farmer had finally been sufficiently filled with such tales to sell his farm and set out in search for these precious stones. Day after day, month after month he searched. Finally, totally exhausted and destitute, in the grip of utter despair, the farmer threw himself into a river and drowned.
But on the farm which he'd sold, the new owner was working the field and saw something glittering in the sun. On closer examination he discovered that it was a diamond. As he searched his farmland, he found more and more of the precious gems. That farm is the present site of the Kimberly Mine of South Africa, the largest diamond mine in the world.
What is satisfaction? The story tells us a truth which we all know; you can search the world over and never be satisfied, when satisfaction was waiting for you at home all the while.
Satisfaction is not found in externals! It's an internal gift from God! In the Old Testament spells this out very forcefully. Isaiah is speaking to the Jews in exile in Babylon. Some have become very wealthy. All are caught up in the search for satisfaction through physical wealth in this city of Gold. The prophet speaks the word of God into their frantic search. He declares: "Why did you spend your money for that which is not bread; and your labor for that which does not satisfy?"
God is asking, "When is enough, enough?" God is asking, "'Why do you spend your lives in a search for satisfaction in ways and means which only produce a greater appetite for more?"
Satisfaction cannot be bought! It's a spiritual gift.
For God continues through the prophet by saying, "Incline your ear, and come to me; hear that your soul may live; and I will make you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David." Satisfaction is found in the love of God; who alone is the source and purpose of all things.
Matthew spells this out in another way. It's the miracle of the feeding of five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. And we miss the point of this miracle completely if we get lost in the question of how or if this miracle could have occurred. The point of the miracle is this: They "ate and were satisfied" because they had been fed by the very hand of God Our Lord himself fed them and filled them. He satisfied their appetites completely.
When is enough, enough? The Bible answers it's enough when our physical needs are being met, our spiritual needs are met in relationship with God, and we have a surplus to share with those who have less.
Yet daily we're tempted to sell the farm and go off in search of diamonds. Daily we're seduced into the "if only" disease. And daily lives lie broken on the bank of that river we call desire.
In his book Facing Loneliness, J. Oswald Sanders writes, “The round of pleasure or the amassing of wealth is but vain attempts to escape from the persistent ache.… The millionaire is usually a lonely man and the comedian is often more unhappy than his audience.”
Sanders goes on the emphasize that being successful often fails to produce satisfaction. Then he refers to Henry Martyn, a distinguished scholar, as an example of what he is talking about. Martyn, a Cambridge University student, was honored at only 20 years of age for his achievements in mathematics. In fact, he was given the highest recognition possible in that field. And yet he felt emptiness inside. He said that instead of finding fulfillment in his achievements, he had “only grasped a shadow.”
Are all of your achievements similar to grasping at a shadow like Henry Martyn? You have realized after all of your chasing after accomplishments you end up unfulfilled and disappointment. Well Martyn’s testimony doesn’t end here. The emptiness inside drove him to evaluate his life’s goals
At the age of 24, Martyn sailed to India as a missionary. When he arrived, he prayed, “Lord, let me burn out for you.” In the next 7 years that preceded his death, he translated the New Testament into three difficult Eastern languages. These notable achievements were certainly not passing “shadows.”
When is enough, enough? You have done a lot of things in your life and yet you feel wanting more.
Tonight I invite you to put a stop to all of your pursuits and reevaluate your life’s goals. On the Savior can satisfy your need for success, He can put and end to our wanting more.
It's enough to know the love of God. It's enough to be numbered among his people. It's enough to have received his gift of life...forever.
To be satisfied is to be thankful.
Let's pause for a few moments and in the quiet of our hearts remember God's goodness to each of us. May we, in so doing, come to a personal understanding of what is enough? And be satisfied. Amen.