As a part of my history/literature class on the Romans, I was assigned to read Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It is a long poem that chronicles the history of the world from it’s creation until Julius Caesar. In all of the stories, someone or something changes form. While I didn’t care for many of the stories, there was one that I found very interesting and applicable to our modern lives.
As the story goes, King Midas preformed a favor for Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry and the like. Bacchus was very grateful and promised to give Midas whatever he wished for. Midas loved gold and asked that anything he touched would become gold. The god granted this wish, even though he knew that it would be the king’s downfall.
King Midas started touching things to see if they would really turn to gold. They did and he was filled with happiness and joy because he would be the richest king in the whole world. After a while, he was exhausted and sat down for a meal. The table was set with all kinds of good foods and drink. But as he raised the food to his lips, it turned to gold. Within a few minutes he realized that he could no longer eat or drink anything because everything he touched became gold.
What he had thought he wanted more than anything else had become a great curse. He was surrounded by unfathomable riches. He literally had unlimited wealth at his fingertips. But he would die because of it. He couldn’t nourish his body with the simplest of its needs.
In the end he begged Bacchus to take the curse away and he was restored to his former self.
But this story made me think about America’s obsession with wealth. The American dream is the pursuit of riches and happiness. We believe that the more things we have, the happier we will be. If we can just get that new car or buy that piece of jewelry or whatever we’re longing for, then we’ll be satisfied. THEN we’ll finally stop trying to fill the emptiness in our hearts.
But friends, that’s a lie meant to deceive us. No matter how much riches, wealth, love, gold, food, happiness, whatever we crave will never be enough. It will never fill us. Millionaires commit suicide all of the time. People who have everything the worlds has to offer are still miserable, sad and hopeless. It’s a proven fact that THINGS cannot make us happy. So why do we keep lusting after them?
We’re trying to fill our hearts with SOMETHING when it is searching for SOMEONE. That someone is Jesus. He’s the only one that can take away our longings and our restlessness. Just like Midas could not find nourishment even though he had everything he could want, we will never find peace until we find Jesus.
The pursuit of wealth is a never-ending labyrinth that will lead to our destruction. It’s a pit that cannot ever be filled. The more we have, the more we want. It’s only when we surrender and let go that we will find our souls at rest. God is the thing that everyone is searching for, whether we know it or not.