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Looking for Jesus

"Everyone is looking for you!"

(Mark 1:37)

Can you believe 2016 is already a quarter of the way through?  How are those resolutions and intentions going for you?  What was that goal again?  Many of us look for things every day, but we quickly give up, only to go in search of something else.  Consider how casual it has become to go from one relationship to another; how easily our children and grandchildren talk of “breaking up” friendships and then beginning another.  They are searching for something; we are searching too, for beauty, health, rest, longevity?  Everyone is constantly searching for something.

You see, it does not matter what we call them: resolutions, solutions or intentions.  The larger question is “Why?”  Why are we in this constant search and pursuit?  Nothing is wrong with exercising more regularly, eating healthier meals, or connecting with family and friends more frequently.  In fact, these are commendable goals.  But what exactly are we looking for?  What are we trying to fill?  If it were just things we needed, we would all have had our fill by now, and yet year after year we keep going back for more. Could it be that we are looking for something more, and that true contentment will only come when we find it?

Bishop Augustine (354-430) may have given us a great clue about this.  In his spiritual autobiography, Confessions, the Bishop writes: “Lord, you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” (Confessions 1.1.1.)  Human hearts are constantly seeking, “restless,” until we find “rest” in God.  We were created to seek after God and all our seeking is a symptom of a much greater hunger.

 Almost a millennium later, Blaise Pascal (1623-62) said: “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?  This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and unchangeable object; in other words, by God himself.” (Pensees 10.148). We humans have an “empty”-ness inside which most try to “fill with everything around,” but only God will exactly fit.

The crowds in Mark were pursuing things too.  They had experienced Jesus’ dynamic ministry.  They had heard his unique teaching, seen him heal the sick and cast out demons and they wanted more of it, but they recognized something else.  I believe that they realized that though there were other teachers and healers, what they really craved, was Jesus’ life-changing presence, which is why Mark says, “Everyone is looking for you!”  They are looking for him because they know, that once they find him, they will have found all they really need because Jesus is enough.  To know him, not just know about him (knowledge can be found in the library), but truly know him, causes the things of this world to “grow strangely dim.”  It brings true contentment.

Today, as you read this ask yourself, “What am I looking for in life?” Are you just seeking good grades in school?  Or is your ambition to get up every day, go to work and pay your rent?  Or maybe it is to enjoy retirement by filling your day with one activity or another.  This very minute, what are you looking for?  Are you discontented with your life? Is there a longing for something more, something new?

The worldly things you are searching for are not bad, but are they enough or does your hunger just grow deeper?  The crowds that were looking for Jesus may have come looking for some of these worldly comforts too.  They needed the food, the healing, the teachings but I believe they also realized that true contentment can only be found in Christ.  The rest of the world scoffs at the notion that true satisfaction can be found in a person, but what about you?  What do you think and what will you do?  “Jesus is the Answer” is not just a tagline or cliché, it is the simple, yet profound truth that many have already found and I hope you will too.  When the Son of Man comes in his glory, may we all be looking for him.

Loving God, we thank you for every good and perfect gift sent from heaven above.  Today, we ask for more of you, nothing else, just more of you.  Draw us closer into your presence by the power of your Spirit and remind us that godliness with contentment is great gain.  And may you find us looking for you, hungry and thirsty for you, when you come in your glory.