Echoes From the Campfire

It’d never be worth a secondhand chaw of tobacco.”

                    –Elmer Kelton  (Dark Thicket)

       “How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame?  How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood?”
                    –Psalm 4:2 (NKJV)
“I want more,” comes the cry.  Someone in the crowd answered, “More what?”  “More of anything that makes me happy,” returned the first voice.  Isn’t that what many people want, more of anything that makes them happy, yet not realizing what it really is that will make them happy.  Solomon tried laughter and entertainment to satisfy his craving, but he came to the conclusion that it was “Madness,” and vanity.  He turned to liquor to satisfy and he said he would do it under control.  Ha, how many can continue to do that?  However, Solomon soon came to realize that it didn’t work either.
       He goes on to build great works so that he will be remembered.  He built edifices and wonderful gardens.  There are so many through history who have tried.  They built and gave away, thinking that it would satisfy their needs of grandeur and happiness.  But it failed.  They couldn’t be satisfied, and as the years passed the buildings crumbled and the weeds overtook the gardens.
       Had Solomon become too big for his britches?  

               “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.  Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”
                              –Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (NKJV)

His pleasure and happiness was not lasting.  His abuse of natural appetites and faculties came to naught; they are never intended to rule us; if they do it will throw the whole life into disorder as we see in the depression and gloom evidenced by Solomon.  The body and mind can handle only so much stimulation.  It may crave for more, but it cannot handle “more.”  The cycle is continually downward and man becomes bound by his want of pleasure, but the actual result is more and more gloom.
       Peter speaks of this type of individual and what will happen to them,

               “But these men, with no more sense than the unreasoning brute beasts which are born to be caught and killed, scoff at things outside their own experience, and will most certainly be destroyed in their own corruption.  Their wickedness has earned them an evil end and they will be paid in full.  These are the men who delight in daylight self-indulgence; they are foul spots and blots, playing their tricks at your very dinner-table.  Their eyes cannot look at a woman without lust, they captivate the unstable ones, and their techniques of getting what they want is, through long practice, highly developed.”
                              –2 Peter 2:12-15(Phillips)

Too many times, too late in life man realizes the folly of his life.  It was spent seeking the wrong things.  It was spent building with the wrong motives.   This person has missed out on so much of the things in life that really do matter.  This is the person who has laid up his treasures on earth, and when eternity beckons he has nothing to say or to show for his life.  The time he could have been building into the lives of people, his children for instance are gone.  The strength of his youth when he could have been working for the Kingdom of God has passed by.  He is like Lord Byron,
               “My days are in the yellow leaf;
                    The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
               The worm, the canker, and the grief
                              Are mine alone!”

       Wasted years–how foolish.  Man has his ideas of what will satisfy, what will bring him happiness.  Part of this work, this searching is the emptiness that is in the heart.  The emptiness that will only be found in Jesus Christ.  I recall the words of Augustine, “Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.”  The building, the seeking, the experimenting, the drunkenness, the fulfilling of lusts will not satisfy what God has put in our heart–a need for Him.  To spend our lives seeking happiness is like Kelton’s quotation above; it’s worthless as “secondhand chaw of tobacco.”