“For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’” – Acts 17:28
We are, quite often, restless people. There’s always something else; something more. As children we always asked for one more. One more cookie, one more story, one more hour to stay up. As adults scripture instructs us to put off childish ways but oh how often they linger into adulthood and on into the twilight of life. As children we had that childlike faith tainted by childishness. Now as adults the childlike faith has been jaded by the trials and troubles of life but the childishness remains; accompanied now by the vices of adulthood. We are restless. Like children we want one more. One more hour at work, one more fancy trinket, one more …well, you name what that one more is for you.
This time of year our restless desire for one more is on full, lavish display. One more deal to be had, one more present to buy, one more decoration to really bring the home into the spirit of the season. We’re bombarded with the constant message that we aren’t good enough; that we haven’t truly arrived as people. We’re restless. But, if only we will buy this or that, then we will be fulfilled, then we will find our meaning, the we will find our rest. Paul is speaking in this text to the people of Athens, people not unlike ourselves. He tells them that who we are, that our lives and our meaning is found in God. He goes on to say “we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals.” Now that cuts to the heart. How often do we make items of gold, or silver, or stone…or anything else made by our hands into gods? We do every time our heart feels strangely warmed by the material desires of the season. We do it every time we sacrifice time with people so that we can get them one more thing.
Thinking about this text the great St. Augustine said that “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” I see so much restlessness in the world. Restlessness over this season for sure but it goes beyond that. Folks are restless; they’re anxious. “What’s the world coming to” they wonder. “Life doesn’t seem fair” they opine. “If things keep going this way we’ll be in serious trouble” they state. On one hand I see that and understand what’s being said. But on another hand I just don’t get it. I want to say to them, “you think God is small; he’s much, MUCH bigger than that!” If it’s true that in God we live and move and have our being, and it is true, then being in God is EVERYTHING. That means that God plus nothing is everything. So it doesn’t matter then what you have, or what you get, or what you don’t have, or what you have taken away. With God you are blessed, with God you are rich, with God you are fulfilled. You can go out a get stuff till your hearts desire but it won’t matter one bit nor will it fix that restlessness. God satisfies us and with him we find rest. Anybody can take away every last dime and material possession you have but that won’t make them a winner or you a loser. With God we win the day; he gives us our rest. Sadly though, we’ve all bought into the myth that stuff, be it money, or prestige, or possessions, gives us meaning and value and worth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ shines into this darkness and says “in God we find our life; in God we find our meaning; in God we find our value; now and always and to the end of the age.” God is the rest to our hearts being restless.