This devotional was originally published on August 15, 2017.
There is a room in my house covered in mosaic tile, floor to ceiling. Six years ago, when we moved into our historic home, I spent several weeks planning, tiling, and grouting. Every day when my kids went off to school, I worked on that room. At first, it was really fun. I laid out patterns, found special objects for the focal points, and carefully adhered each one by hand. As the days passed by, however, it lost some of its excitement. I became motivated by a drive to just finish the dang thing. By the end of it, I dreaded every day. I was grouting the ceiling, on a ladder. Charcoal gray grout was falling into my eyes. My mouth was crunchy with it. Not fun. Not fun at all.
That was the last in a long line of house projects. I had painted trees all over our dining room. I had redone furniture to fill the rooms. I’d enjoyed all of the projects at the beginning, but by the end of many of them I’d felt a strange sense of letdown. Something wasn’t quite right with me. Something was missing.
Eventually, I had to face it. I was looking for fulfillment in doing more with the house. I was working hard, not being lazy. But I was using projects to fill up a hole inside of me. Keeping busy worked for a little while to distract me from the hole, to fill up the hole with momentary excitement as a project was completed, but the joy kept leaking out.
The book of Ecclesiastes words my efforts at hole-filling like this:
It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted…I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.
— Ecclesiastes 1:13–17
We were all made to last for eternity. Our bodies will die, but our spirits remain alive. There is something buried deep inside our hearts that longs for what lasts forever. It is a hole that needs to be filled with things of eternity. We try so hard to distract ourselves from the hole by “striving after wind.” We try to fill the hole with more from this earth, but that more will never satisfy. It can never be enough.
Ecclesiastes chronicles the author’s search for what truly matters. He concludes the book like this:
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
— Ecclesiastes 12:13
God is the only lasting fulfillment. In Jesus are streams of living water that fill us up and don’t leak out! Today, allow God to show you what things from this earth you’ve been using to fill that hole. Let Him make you aware of how you’ve been seeking after more from this earth, how you have been striving after wind. Then allow Christ to become your more. For eternity.