Every so often, life slows us down and poses a very important question:
Where were you when the iPod was introduced?
To think, there was a day when mankind was forced to lay a needle on a large, circular vinyl sheet in order to hear music. It’s archaic. All this talk of 8-tracks and cassette tapes brings one back to the Stone Ages.
I made a few mixtapes in my day, but I was more of a CD baby. My earliest memories of compact disks take me back to Boys II Men, Skeelo, Mariah Carey, and Carmen (Who’s in the House?). I took my Discman everywhere. It really only skipped when you coughed or walked too fast, or moved around. I guess it skipped a lot, but I loved that thing.
iPods changed all that. CD’s still exist, for now, but the turnover rate for technology today is unbelievable. The moment something is introduced to the market there is already something better waiting to release. And companies keep churning it out because they know something:
We want more.
I remember the day I got my first iPod, the nano. It was the best thing ever. As I type this, my nano sits at the bottom of my car’s center console, hiding under old CD’s and things I have yet to throw away. Why? I have an iPhone now. My music plays through that; nano has been replaced. But my iPhone 4 shouldn’t get too comfy because I’m already waiting for the 5 to hit store shelves.
A few months ago, my friend posted a clip on Facebook from the movie Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps that, in my opinion, summarizes the state of our society.
How much money is enough? More.
How much success? More.
How many friends will it take to feel valued? More.
How much more validation do we need from family? More.
How much sex? More.
The answer is always more.
When you chase that thing down, when you finally catch up to it and hold it in your hands, just then you’ll spot something better running past your peripheral.
It’s exhausting. And for what? Is it worth it?
There is a story from the first century church that brings needed perspective. The first followers of Christ, the Apostles, were instructed by the Jewish leaders to stop talking about Jesus. In their opinion, he was dead and gone, and talking about him was disturbing the peace.
The apostles refused, so the Jewish leaders decided to kill them.
One man, Gamaliel, came up with a cleaner solution. Essentially, the idea was, “Wait till something better comes along. They’ll drop the Jesus talk and pick up the next thing.” He even provided proof for his theory.
- Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing.
- After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.
Basically, the Jesus buzz will fizzle out the same way. He thought they were just chasing the promise of more like everyone else. Life is boring. Why not follow a homeless magician? Pretty soon another act will show up, and that’ll be the end of it.
Gamaliel did end his remarks with this thought, however: But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!
It’s 2012 and Jesus is still the most influential person in human history. People are still reading his words, still being beaten and killed for spreading his message. It seems the hype never wore off.
What else has that staying power? Some cling to the thrill of the chase. Miley Cyrus steps to the mic to sing It’s the Climb, but if you chase it down, even with all the character building and lessons learned, if you reach the summit and all that stares back is the face of imminent death, who cares about the journey? I can think of a better use of time than a temporal search for meaning.
By all means, chase. But go for what matters. Love selflessly. Work to give more than you receive. Own stuff, cool stuff. Just make sure it doesn’t own you.
And most importantly, consider the possibility that there is a God who loves you to death (literally) and provides what nothing else can, true and lasting fulfillment.
Do you find yourself in the constant pursuit of more? Join the discussion below.
Photo Credit: Nathan Makan (Creative Commons)