The late singer-songwriter Johnny Cash covered the song A Satisfied Mind so did the late Jeff Buckley and many others for that matter. It was probably because the song tells of a lasting truth. The song gets to the deeper question of where does our satisfaction lay? Solomon, arguably the wisest and probably with the most experience in seeking his pleasures, shares a similar notion:
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man. Proverbs 27
7 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing. Ecclesiastes 1
What will satisfy us? I think of the Marvel cinematic universe. How many more movies about this do I need to see before I can say I am satisfied in that universe? I am getting to the point where I do not feel the compulsion to have to see what happens next. One conflict will lead to another conflict leading to more heroes needed to stand up and fight until the next conflict gives way for more to be needed. I know that money fuels this and as long as it is profitable the sequels will continue to be made. But when do we reach the point when we can look around and decide that we are satisfied with what we already have, or possibly just desire something completely new? When do we as consumers decide we have had that scratch itched and do not feel the compulsion to have to see what happens next?
It is like social media, at what point can we just turn it off recognizing that we will never be filled. There will be continual news, fake news, debates, arguments, articles and then conflicting counter articles, and more information than we can truly process. Conflicts will never end, cat videos will never be stop being made, opinions will always differ, but at what point do we decide that we have had our fill of that unrest and decide to be satisfied, or rather that we would like to stop being so dissatisfied? Facebook has become the old television set where we just channel surf, we keep searching/scrolling for something that will grab our interest and after it has, we move on the to next thing, never filled.
I see a dissatisfied people because of how much we can now know yet are not able to actually do much about.
I took Facebook off my phone simply because it was too easy to pick it up and see what everyone was doing. Such a time sink. I still use it as it is a helpful medium for communication, but do I need that temptation to be in cyberspace and in everybody business 24/7? No, I don’t. But think back, did we always need to know every last whim and opinion of…well, the entire world? Has anyone noticed that this constant need to be in the know has not made us wiser, but more unsatisfied? The Bible is again correct on this point that knowledge puffs up. Unlimited knowledge at our fingertips has not made us more peaceful and understanding but arrogantly assume that we alone can fix an issue. But only God can do that.
We are unsatisfied that people disagree with us, we are unsatisfied until we see a conclusion that we deem appropriate, which often never comes. We are unsatisfied because we are so powerless to change things, yet we still stick our noses in the smoke of a fire we are unable to extinguish.
The song A Satisfied Mind is about material wealth and thinking certain benchmarks of money will satisfy but the singer realizes that even that person has not found what he was looking for. We know this is true because even though this truth is attested to, we still want to try it out for ourselves. It seems like in our society social justice is the new point of satisfaction that nobody can reach. It should be something we simply just do but rather it is something we are all at each other’s throats over. We are so in each other’s faces that no wonder we can not be satisfied with what God has given us. I think gossip is a major sin that American and all the world is caught up in right now. The thing about gossip is there is always more to hear. Our ears are never satisfied.
But what is gossip and why is it a bad thing? Well, gossip is empty-speech for the sake of speaking and hearing. It is not building people up. It is empty because it discusses issues and people in ways that offer no solutions and probably in ways we would have never done in the past if it was real face to face discussion. Gossip is about being heard, not listening, not seeking answers with actual people and processes involved. It is useless commentary in order to feed our desire to feel important. The sad thing is we are engaging so much in this type of communication that it is spilling into normal interaction and discourse, and well this is why there is increased unrest. This is why debate, was a subject in school; we needed to learn how to do this. We seem to scream at people, past people, and for whatever reason now.
The book of Proverbs spends so much time on communication that the church at least needs to learn from.
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thoughts to his steps. 14:15
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. 17:9
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is man of understanding. 17:27
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion. 18:2
If one gives an answer before he hears it is his folly and shame. 18:13
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. 18:17
Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook a matter. 19:11
I could go on but you get the idea.
We gossip, we share, we argue, we are not satisfied so we try to make our desired area of interest into something bigger than it is. We say we are just raising awareness of a problem. There are countless issues to be raised, but how is a regular person not at all connected to the inner workings, nor with an understanding of all the deeper issues going to really contribute? We use hype to get people on board but rather than actually dissect problems we scream at one another because, for much of us, all the research we have done is read or watch an impassioned rant that leaves no other options than a militant response.
Remember the Israeli Palestinian conflict flaring in the ’90s, and then again recently, and then it went away, and now it’s back yet again? Well that has always been going on since Israel became a state and sometimes it makes the news, but sometimes it does not. Our awareness is only pricked when it comes into the media. The same with violence everywhere, but we no longer need the news to decide what we will learn. It is all in front of us. With the connections that social media have given us, the information that flows into us now can be overwhelming. We are now so aware of the evil and violence in the earth, that has always been there. We become unsatisfied.
It is so in our face that most thinking and feeling people will find the need to form a response. We get angry and change our Facebook thumbnail to stand in solidarity with people. That helps. But part of the reason for this is with so much awareness we feel the need to for an outlet. We need to do something no matter how pointless it may be. Other times we make the new awareness something to be bigger than it is. It becomes our passion. When dissatisfaction fuels an awareness problem and becomes our passion, we may still think we have actually done something. But this is all flowing from an emptiness within as we reflect on the way things are that shouldn’t be.
As a Christian, my number one passion should be God. I should not only never have an emptiness, but I should have a perspective that God is orchestrating all things. I should recognize the solution is Jesus and double down on the Gospel. Proverbs again teaches:
Do not say I will repay evil, wait for the Lord and he will deliver you. 20:22
I don’t have to flip out over every turn of politics, or world event or simply when someone disagrees with me. I don’t have to demand or try to bring about the turn I desire. My satisfaction should be grounded in who God is. All our other problems that need a bright light flashing over it, will be addressed as we are spending our times on the main thing which is Jesus. I don’t say fixed, as if coming to Christ releases us from all vices and delivers us from all earthly turmoil, sometimes it does, but more often what happens is the presence of the Spirit in our lives begins to aid us in overcoming. The Gospel is where the power of God lays. It is as lives are transformed by a relationship with God, that their social issues come round. But you have to believe that first. You have to have found satisfaction in God to realize that he is the world’s solution.
What is at the forefront of your mind that you cannot let stand, or will not sleep until it is resolved? What must you have more of in order to be satisfied? God is in the justice business, but what he deems just may not always appease a godless society. There is a difference between human social justice, and God’s justice. Until you can find peace in the latter, the former will continually steal your joy in this life.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107
I can truly say that I am satisfied in the way God is running his world. I say this because my focus is him, and not current events. There are many issues that need his loving hand brought to them, and I pray that happens. I work for the peace of the city, but I do not fight for it. If I fight for it, I am fighting other people. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, powers, and authorities of Satan. (Eph 6) It is a spiritual fight that we wage war on, not our fellow-man. We should fight in prayer, not our fellow-man. Our fellow-man needs rescuing. Our fellow-man needs Jesus. Our fellow-man needs to find that satisfaction in God, so help lead them there.
So, are you a satisfied person? Talk to God about it.