Did you ever watch that Man vs Wild show? It’s a show where Bear Grylls, an ex-British special forces soldier, is dropped off in the middle of nowhere to find his way to safety. There were episodes where he was dropped off in the amazon jungle, deserts, snow-capped mountains, you get the picture…. middle of nowhere. The show was about survival and finding your way to safety. Not an easy task when you are scared, hungry, and most probably in danger. Here’s a free tip from the show: find your way to a creek and follow it downstream. Creeks lead to rivers, rivers lead to the ocean, and you will always find civilization on the coast. In the meantime – survive!
When our life goal is to be well fed and well clothed with a nice house, we are doing a little more than surviving. I hope you want more – I hope you want to thrive. Consider people as onions. Not the most flattering of analogy I admit, however like onions, we have layers. Peel away the most obvious needs for human life and the very next layer of wellbeing is found in the need to be loved, to belong and be accepted in community. Now this may sound all mushy – but anyone can be well dressed, well fed, living in a mansion and yet still be miserable, broken, and lonely – we need to belong.
I want to suggest that there is a deeper layer that matters most to our wellbeing, one that most modern people completely underestimate the importance off. It is… drum roll… belief. What we believe is who we are – our identity – this is the dimension of meaning and purpose. Jesus, in His very own episode of being tested to the limits in mind, body, and soul, makes an interesting statement to His tempter:
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4
Jesus gives us a new perspective. Life is more than our appetites. It’s more than what we need or want or see or touch or can explain. We can have all we physically or emotionally need and still need more. Living by our values and not our appetites is another article for next month. For now I’ll just say we are more than our jobs, our wealth, even our loved ones.
Whether you are a Christian or not, one can’t deny the brilliance of Jesus. His purpose was not defined by what he ate, where he lived, what he owned, or who he knew… it came from who He was. Two questions begged to be asked. What are we living for? What are we living from? Man shall not live by bread alone…