The last AMI QT Devotional of 2019, written by Cami King, was originally posted on November 18, 2014. Cami now serves as a staff at Remnant Church in Manhattan.
Devotional Thought for Today
“O Lord, and Our Heart is Restless until it Finds its Rest in Thee” (Augustine)
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
A story is often told of a man who climbs a ladder. He toils and toils his whole life through to reach the top, sacrificing energy, sleep, money, relationships, and anything else necessary to do so. He does all of this only to attain his goal and realize, at the end of it all, as he peers out from the top of the ladder, that all the while his ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.
This is a common illustration for wasted pursuits. It tells of those who chase after the things of this world believing the lies of the “if only”. “If only I had…” “If only I achieved…” “If only I knew…” “If only I was…” “If only… then I’d be happy, satisfied, complete.” The craftiness of this lie is that it incites us to work harder, convincing us that if we only pursue those things we fill into those blanks with greater fervor, then we can obtain the happiness we seek. But the truth is that none of those things, whatever they may be for each of us (wealth, success, marriage, recognition, knowledge, affections, etc.), are able to bring us what we truly desire. Maybe for an illusive moment, but no more.
Our proverb for today not only reminds us that God will provide for our every physical need, it also reminds us that in Him our deepest desires are fully satisfied. Moreover, it serves as a warning: the carvings of those living apart from God will never be satisfied – they cannot be because God alone satisfies. Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde once wrote, “In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” While he certainly didn’t have this Proverb in mind, he stumbled upon great wisdom.
As the great Church Father Augustine once quipped, “Our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” God alone satisfies; His way alone leads to life. So, may this familiar truth challenge us—as we about to enter the New Year—to evaluate our pursuits and identify our “if only’s”. May we debunk the lie and check to be sure our ladders are leaning against the right wall in 2020.
Prayer: Eternal God, You alone can satisfy. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “If only [fill in the blank with what is relevant for You], then I’d be satisfied.” But that is a lie. You have promised to meet all my needs and I trust that You’ll do it. In Jesus’ name.
Bible Reading for Today: Luke 14
Lunch Break Study
The day after Jesus fed the multitude from a couple fish and a few loaves of bread, they came looking for him and, when they found him, he said:
Read John 6:26-36: Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
Questions to Consider
- What is Jesus describing in verse 26?
- In the end, it all comes down to belief – do we believe that Jesus is the “bread from heaven” who will truly satisfy us? To an outsider looking in, does your life declare that Jesus alone satisfies?
- The crowds followed Jesus not because of the signs he performed before them (signs which would have revealed to them that He was the Son of God), but because he met their physical needs (he’d literally fed them the day before, satiating their hunger). If we are primarily following Jesus because of the physical benefits, we’re missing the point.
- It’s not that we don’t have physical needs, but that we are not controlled by them. God, in Christ, has offered us so much more than just having our physical needs met. Those needs are temporal. He has fulfilled our eternal need for God which far outweighs hunger or thirst or any other physical need. For many of us, our lives and our efforts, how we spend our time and money suggest to onlookers that many other things satisfy.
One of the greatest dangers in the Christian faith is not to make God last – very few of us would ever do that, but to make him second. We tend to do this because we feel like we absolutely need one thing or another. Whatever that thing may be always takes first place.
What are the things that you put in first place? What needs do you harness all your efforts and resources to meet? Surrender them to God, believing that (1) He knows what you need and will provide, and (2) God, Himself, is the greatest treasure that alone will satisfy