A little bit of doggerel goes as fol lows: “A cheerful old bear at the zoo could always find something to do. When it bored him, you know, to walk to and fro, he reversed it and walked fro and to!” The writer apparently thought people could learn a lesson from the bear, for these creatures seem to be quite happy as long as they have enough food to eat and a few of their own kind around them.
This is not true of humans, however. The Israelites who had returned from Babylon discovered that man cannot find happiness when he lives only for himself. They ignored the fact that God’s temple had not been rebuilt, but gave themselves to the construction of fine houses and completely occupied themselves with materialistic things. Yet their harvests were poor, their clothing inadequate, and their wages did not keep pace with rising costs (Hag. 1:6). The prophet told them they were reaping a harvest of unhappiness because they were putting selfish pleasures first.
God has made us in His own image and for His glory. We can never find true joy until we obey Christ’s admonition to seek “first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Only then will we sow and reap abundantly, and eat and truly be filled.
O the emptiness of life without the Savior!
Nothing worldly here can truly satisfy;
We can only reap a harvest that’s abundant,
Serving Jesus as to self we daily die. —Bosch
Selfish gratification will lead to spiritual stagnation.