When it is platform you crave, when it is the size or the popularity of your following that you use as the measure of your success, you will inevitably and eventually find that there is no platform high enough. No success will ever perfectly fulfill your ambitions.
When it is recognition that you are after, affirmation of your hard work, affirmation of your skills or wisdom or contributions, there can be no reward fulfilling enough. There will always be one more acknowledgment you want and one more you are sure you need.
When it is the size of your congregation that motivates your actions and serves as your goal, not even a megachurch will satisfy. There is no church big enough. Even if the church is packed to the rafters, and even if it expands to campuses around the city or state, you will remain unfulfilled.
When it is money that motivates and money that promises joy, your satisfaction in money will only ever be hollow. If joy promises that it is just a salary increase away, you will find that joy remains forever just out of reach. There is no wealth great enough. You will always crave just a little bit more.
When it is the CEO’s office that promises completion and fulfillment, when it is the top job at the top firm, no job title will satisfy. There is no position and no compensation package grand enough to satisfy your desire for joy.
When it is possessions that holds out the promise of joy, you will find that even the most stuff and the nicest stuff fails to bring satisfaction. You can fill your home, your basement, your garage, your storage unit with the best stuff money can buy, but the ache inside will not go away.
When it is conference invitations you want, there will never be a conference big enough. There will never be a crowd large enough. There will never be a fanbase adoring enough. There will never be a location distant enough. Satisfaction will remain frustratingly elusive.
When it is book sales that drive your ambitions and promise joy, there will never be a book that sells well enough. Even a runaway bestseller and a round of morning talk show invites will leave you feeling hollow.
When it is sexual satisfaction that promises true fulfillment, no lover will fulfill. No succession of lovers will fulfill. Each episode and each person will only increase your desire for what you cannot find. There is no sexual pleasure fulfilling enough.
No matter your goal, no matter your god, it will not and cannot bring lasting satisfaction. In this world, God’s world, these kinds of desires were never meant to bring ultimate satisfaction. Rather, all the pleasures of this world are meant to be subordinate, to point beyond themselves to the satisfaction that is found in God. The deepest joy this world offers, and the only lasting joy this world offers, is the joy that comes from seeking his kingdom instead of your own.