There was a powerful man from the Bible and ancient history named Cyrus. He was a leader. A ruler. A mover and a shaker. He ruled the Empire of Persia around 600 BC . And even he had this longing for something more. Even as a relatively nonreligious leader, he had a longing, a stirring, a feeling, a sense that he was made for something more…for some greater purpose. He looked at all that he had been given…all that he’d been entrusted with…all his success. He felt that he needed to pursue something bigger than him. A bigger purpose, a larger story. We read his account in the book of Ezra:
Ezra 1:1-2 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia,…the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing saying, “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of Heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem.…”
Here is this guy who doesn’t even believe in the God of the Bible, yet, God stirs something with him. This is a person who knows some of people who followed God, but he wouldn’t have considered himself one… yet, he was exploring from this inner stirring from God. And he even sensed that the God who made Heaven has given him his influence and authority… Why is this guy talking about Heaven? How relevant is heaven to regular life? What does the God of Heaven have to do with life on earth, pressures of business, and challenges today with marriage and kids?
So, if we are really hard wired with a longing for satisfaction that we can’t Trade-up, or Give-up, where does that leave us?
The Longing We Must Look-Up to Satisfy
As C.S. Lewis began his journey to faith in Christ, it was a journey of both the mind as he weighed evidence as a scholar and a journey of the heart as he searched his longings. He realized that he couldn’t give up, but he needed to look-up.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”— C.S. Lewis
The Bible suggests that creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim, there is such a thing as water. There is a desire for intimacy, and there is such a thing as sex. If there is a desire in us that nothing in this world can satisfy… and we’ve tried… the only probable explanation is that we were made for another world. If nothing on earth satisfies, then perhaps, they aren’t meant to satisfy a deeper longing with in us. Therefore we must not mistake earthly blessing as the final and full longings of our heart. They are a copy, an echo, and a mirage I keep alive as I long for my true country.
OBJECTION! This is not some escapism, the folks in history who have done the most good in this life, have had their minds most focused on another world. The Apostles who eradicated the brutality of the Roman Empire, Witherspoon and others who have helped stomped our the slave trade, and other great men and women of our history made a difference in this world BECAUSE they were constantly LOOKING UP to another world. Another place. And saying, “Thy Kingdom Come… ON Earth as it is in Heaven.”
The Bible teaches that we all have a deep longing for freedom. A deep longing for purpose. A strong longing for perfect love. We need to LOOK-UP to God and find that He has the ability to free us from boredom, from meaninglessness, from whatever we are enslaved to….
- Many of us are in the clutches of unforgiveness and unable to shake it. We long for justice.
- Many of us are in the clutches of being a victim. We tell the story about what someone did or didn’t do to us, or for us, and that is our excuse for being critical, driven, or sensitive. We long to be free from circumstances.
- Some of us are controlled by our devotion to our careers. It’s brought us much joy but at the expense of our health, a first marriage, and other relationships. Our jobs and careers are good things, but when they drive us to do things we are not proud of, and each level of achievement is never enough. We long to enjoy our life without being controlled by it.
- Others of us are in captivity to our children and our reputation in the community. When our sense of well being is tied to our kids behavior, or perception by others in the community of being a “good family” or “good mom”.. we are in captivity to our reputation.
When you realize that you are in captivity, you are on the road to liberty. This simple, but difficult step begins to liberate you and I from Pride. This is deeply humbling. Deeply freeing. Since I can admit my captivity, I don’t need to pretend I am perfect. Since I know my good deeds couldn’t be good enough anyway, I am liberated from the pride of thinking I am “Chad the great.”
Fredrick II was the king of Prussia from 1740-1786. One day he toured the prison in Berlin, scores of prisoners shouted to him, protesting that they were innocent and wrongly imprisoned. They all knew this man had the power to free and pardon them. As the king passed by, he noticed one man sitting in the corner strangely silent. Intrigued, Fredrick singled the man out and said, “You there, Why are you here?” “Armed robbery, Your majesty.” “And are you guilty?” “Yes, indeed your Majesty, I entirely deserve my punishment.” Fredrick called to the prison guard “Release this guilty wreck at once,” he said, “I will not have him kept in this prison where he will corrupt all the fine innocent people who occupy it.”
The Bible says that the same thing can happen to you and me. When we humble ourselves to admit our captivity to lesser things, we are able to be free from Pride. By leaning on God and His mercy, we are now filled with gratitude and joy toward God as our deliverer. Through Jesus, He offers to give us a whole new perspective and purpose. He tells us that if we will humble ourselves, He will liberate us from our mistakes. Liberate us to a whole new world, a whole new reality. Liberate us to a future life where there is no separation, sickness or corruption. He also promises that serving Him, like the prisoner in the story changes everything. Everything is infused with meaning. Everything we do can be an act of gratitude to God. Everyday, we are liberated to love others.
Back in the 1800s, a young Englishman traveled to California in search of gold. After several months of prospecting, he struck it rich. On his way home he stopped in New Orleans. Not long into his visit, he came upon a crowd of people all looking in the same direction. Approaching the crowd, he realized that they had gathered for a slave auction. Slavery had been outlawed in England for years, so this young man’s curiosity drew him to watch as a person became someone else’s property. He heard “sold” just as he joined the crowd. A middle-aged black man was taken away. Next a beautiful young black girl was pushed up on the platform and made to walk around so everyone could see her. The bidding began. Soon the bids surpassed what most slaveholders would pay. As the bidding continued higher and higher, it was apparent that two slave owners wanted her. The miner stood as silent anger welled up inside of him. Finally, one man bid a price that was beyond the reach of the other. The girl looked down. The auctioneer called out, “Going once, going twice…” Just before the final call, the miner called out a price that was exactly twice the previous bid. An amount that exceeded the worth of any man. The crowd laughed, thinking the miner was only joking. The auctioneer motioned to the miner to come forward and show his money. The miner opened up the bag of gold he had brought for the trip. The auctioneer shook his head in disbelief as waved the girl over to him. The girl walked down the steps of the platform until she was eye to eye with the miner. She spat straight in his face and said through clenched teeth, “I hate you!” The miner, without a word, wiped his face, paid the auctioneer, took the girl by the hand, and walked away from the still laughing crowd. They walked up one street and down the other. “You just bought me…and now you’re setting me free?” “That’s why I bought you. I bought you to set you free.” The beautiful girl fell to her knees in front of the miner, tears streaming down her face. “You bought me to set me free! You bought me to set me free!” she said over and over again. The miner said nothing. Clutching his muddy boots, the girl looked up at the miner and said, “All I want to do is serve you–because you bought me to set me free.” This is a true story which proves that There is a Longing in the Human Heart We Can’t Trade-Up or Give-Up, but Only Look Up to Satisfy.
For a free first session of Godonomics, visit: http://www.godonomics.com/watch-session-1