Several years ago, the quarterback of a winning Super Bowl team was being interviewed a few weeks after the championship game, and he described how a kind of depression had set in as the excitement of winning the Super Bowl wore off. Now it’s normal for anyone to experience a little letdown after experiencing an emotional high like that. But he said he was seriously contemplating retirement because – as he put it – there was still something missing and he wasn’t sure what it was.
This is not unusual. Athletes in other sports have reported the same experience. After years of hard work and training, they finally reach their goal of winning a championship, but once the excitement wears off, they begin to feel a letdown accompanied by the feeling of being incomplete.
I recently heard the story of a project manager of a large corporation who spent years working on a major project for his company and when it was finally done, he said that even though he did feel some sense of satisfaction, he also said there was a part of him that asked “Is this it? Is this all there is?”
We’ve all heard of stories of wealthy people who spent years accumulating their fortunes only to end up feeling lonely, depressed, miserable, and empty on the inside in spite of having all the money and material possessions they could ever want. Many of them ask the same question: “Is this it? Is this all there is?”
People in the entertainment industry are prime examples of this. It seems that not a year goes by that we don’t hear of an actor or musician or other celebrity who has had to go into rehab for a drug or alcohol problem. Or worse, we learn of the death of an entertainer that was attributed to a drug overdose, or the news breaks that someone famous committed suicide. And it always leaves their fans and the media asking the same question, “He had everything. She had it all. How could something like that happen?” Just like athletes after winning a championship, it’s not unusual for celebrities to disclose that they feel like something’s missing, even after achieving all the fame and recognition they could ever desire.
All of them have one thing in common: They are (or were) seeking something. Whether it was fame, fortune, a successful movie career or success on the ball field, they were looking for something in this life to satisfy a desire, to fulfill an ambition, or maybe even to fill a void. They were seeking things that they thought would bring ultimate happiness, joy, and/or fulfillment to their lives. And maybe it does……….for a while.
Now, just so there’s no misunderstanding, I’m not saying it’s wrong to seek fame, fortune, or success. I’m not trying to cast anyone in an unfavorable light because really, we’re all the same in this regard. In fact, we’re all very much alike because God made all of us that way, to be seekers. We live in a country founded by people who were seeking something. For some, it was religious freedom. Others sought freedom from oppressive governments. Still others came seeking economic opportunity. So in that regard, we’re no different. And at some point in our pasts, we’ve all felt like something was missing even when it seemed everything was going our way.
However, when God instilled in us that innate instinct to be seekers, His intent was for us to seek Him first above all else. I said it’s not necessarily wrong to seek fame and fortune, unless fame and fortune become our idols. And that’s exactly what happens when we fail to put God first. Jesus made it very clear that we’re to seek God first when He spoke of human desire for wealth and material goods. In Matthew 6, Jesus said, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Just so we’re clear, Jesus never intended for contemporary prosperity gospel preachers to abuse that passage the way they do.) So when people achieve great success in life and then say “There’s still something missing.”they’re exactly right. What’s missing from their lives is God because they sought fame and fortune first. But what if they don’t know that?
Jesus said: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. But again, what if they don’t know that God is the “something” that’s missing from their lives? The Apostle Paul asked and answered this very question in Romans chapter 10 when he wrote:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
No amount of money, fame, or achievement in life can fill the void of a life without God. God made us to be seekers so we would seek Him and come to know Him so that we may exalt the name of Jesus Christ, and give Him the praise and glory and honor He deserves. We’re to seek His blessing, His will, and His plan for our lives, a plan that very likely won’t include fame, fortune, or great success for the majority of us, at least not by worldly standards. But His plan does call for us to be ready to introduce God to those who ask, “Is this it? Is this all there is?” When you hear someone ask that question, when they ask “What’s missing?”, tell them it’s not what, but who, and then tell them who it is. Tell them about Jesus Christ.