“You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.” (Haggai 1:6)
When I was in elementary school my mother bought me a second hand (used) lunch box that had a thermos inside. For someone who had to carry their lunch to school in a paper bag, (we had to use the same paper bag for a week, so it got tattered and stained by the end of the week) or just food wrapped in tin foil, having a metal lunch box, with a thermos, was an incredible upgrade, lunch 5.0! Having a thermos in a lunchbox was super useful. Mom would put warm soup in it, sometimes hot cobbler, and I could even take ice-cold sweet tea to school for lunch! A thermos was made for a lunchbox.
Like most boys that age, I was a collector of things, things that I never really needed. The bottom line was, that whatever piqued my interest, I would accumulate. I brought home many things that I had forgotten about and left in my pants pockets, from rocks, broken pencils, paper clips, marbles, and the occasional lizard or grasshopper.
One day at school I found four Styrofoam blocks. (These fantastic things were laying on the ground beside the dumpster behind the school, a place that was supposed to be off limits to students, but to a collector of things it provided a world of limitless opportunity!) They were small enough to fit perfectly in my lunchbox, minus the thermos of course. It was incredible, they fit perfectly. I mean, these must have been designed specifically for this lunchbox. Do you know what made it even better? There were only four, and I had them! I remember riding home on the bus, even with all the noise around me, people shouting and laughing, I was enamored by those blocks, they sat there perfectly, possibly designed just for me and my lunchbox! I just stared at them, thinking about the excitement of having found them and the opportunity that I could add them to my life.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized my thermos was missing. In my desire to add the Styrofoam blocks to my lunchbox, I had taken the thermos out and placed it somewhere and now it was gone. For the rest of that school year, I was left with a lunch box that was missing the thermos, no more hot soup, cobbler, or sweet tea. Every day during lunch was a reminder that I had filled my lunchbox with something that would never be able to satisfy. To this day I don’t even remember what I did with those blocks of Styrofoam, but I sure do remember missing that thermos!
How often do we find ourselves chasing after and filling our lives with things that only temporarily satisfy? Most of the time it is things that we don’t even need. But because no one else has it, or that everyone else does have it, we go after it, discarding what we already have to make it fit. Then, when we realize what we have done, it may very well be too late to get it back.
What things are you adding to your life that are taking the place of what you have? Have you taken your family, church, even God out of your life and filled it with useless things, things that you think “fit perfectly”?
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:15–17)