In his monumental work Confessions, St, Augustine tells us “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” St. Augustine was the first to speak of this longing of the human heart for its Creator. We are created with a longing for God. Some call this the God-shaped hole we try to fill. How we choose to fill that hole dictates our level of satisfaction. When we attempt to fill this longing with objects and goods like money and possessions we ultimately yearn for more. As the Beatles so famously said “money can’t buy me love”, it becomes evident that it can’t buy us a place in heaven either.
We have only to turn to scripture to learn the folly of our ways:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6: 19-20
21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:21
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. James 5: 1-3
The Pursuit of Happiness
We have a loving God who has granted us free will. He does not force himself upon us. Thus, while pursuing ways in which to fill our God-shaped holes we pursue money, friends, power and possessions. We think that we will be happy if we accumulate enough. However as we accumulate these things we find that we are still left wanting….the emptiness never is satisfied so it becomes a constant struggle to accumulate more and more stuff. All the while we never do reach any real level of satisfaction. The bottom line is earthly rewards do not last and they distract us from what does.
The Wisest Man in the World
Perhaps our greatest example of how to find this eternal happiness is to look at King Solomon. In brief, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what the one thing was he wanted the most. King Solomon did not choose riches or power instead he chose wisdom so that he could be a good leader for God’s people. Ding, ding, ding….right answer Solomon. He was granted wisdom. Unfortunately, Solomon soon was seduced by worldly goods. He amassed riches, women and lusted for power. These ultimately led to Solomon’s downfall and his kingdom became divided.
Solomon’s Fate Need Not Be Our Own
Greed, lust and thirst for power and notoriety are all things we can partake in to try and fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts. We quickly learn that this will not fill the void. The thing we crave the most is how we will spend our eternity. As empty as earthly possessions make us feel in this life, imagine how empty they will make us feel when it is forever. Fill your God-shaped hole with a relationship with God. Instead of pursuing the latest material goods or amassing wealth you could never possibly spend, why not take that time and spend it in prayer? Why not spend that time in service to God and his Church? Lay up your treasures in heaven and not here where they will rust and become moth-eaten. The choice is yours and the choice is eternal. Be wise and make the right one.