Yesterdy, in 1486, King Richard III took the throne of England…only to die in a battle over that same throne some 2 years later, ending the famous “War of the Roses” and ushering in the house of Tudor for the next 117 years.
Richard, my namesake, had his hasty grave discovered only a short 5-years ago. Archeologists discovered the floor and some foundation of a Medieval church in Leiscester (under a parking lot) and discovered the small grave of one of the most controversial rulers in history of Great Britain. He was literally dumped, naked & hands tied, like trash, in a grave that was hastily dug and forgotten years later. The last king to die in battle, Richard had assumed the throne in controversy and survived one prior revolt…but the Tudor family succeeded in the next. After being killed, he was stripped, bound, his body “humiliated” and put on display for 3 days…then dumped.
Such is life. We scramble for honor, money, power, acceptance, respect and love…all of which are transient and deceptive. Fame and power are fickle, as public acclaim is as well. And yet all of us seem to have the desire for power, for respect, acceptance and love…do we learn?
Jesus knew exactly how to handle this part of humanity. Don’t deny it, every human is hungry for all these things, they are a natural part of our created selves. Unfortunately, like children, we believe that WE have all of the information necessary to satisfy our cravings with “food” we see around us. Like a child who is hungry may not be able to reason that his or her body is in need of a specific thing whose nutritional value will encourage growth, we also only know that we are hungry. A child may think that eating ice cream will satisfy the hunger as well as a boneless chicken filet…so why not eat ice cream? We seek power and think that working our way to the top of the food chain, in whatever business we are in, will satisfy that hunger. Jesus knows that hunger, He placed it there at the dawn of creation…it isn’t a bad thing, just a misguided thing. As certain “anti-nutritious” foods will only cause the body to keep craving, causing an addiction, so will constant searching for that which does not truly satisfy will cause a vicious cycle of brokenness, envy, jealousy, bitterness and death.
Power? We are heirs to the Kingdom of God, royalty. All that we see is within our grasp. Money? A childish mind can tell you that the “love of money” is not simply the “root of all evil” but also a substitute for a deeper need…since many who have all the money any one person could possibly crave…are not happy, and crave MORE. Fame? When one tries to please everyone around, they instantly become a slave to all of them…and people will choose arbitrarily who to follow and “worship” at any given time, based on their own cravings. The King of the Universe thinks you are the most beautiful, precious and important of all his creations…He holds your tomorrow and your todays…He is the ONLY person worth pleasing.
King Richard’s life, short reign, bloody death and forgotten grave is a lesson to everyone about the realities of human life. What we seek, to satisfy a created hunger and thirst, is usually unsatisfactory…God and God alone quenches the thirst for honor, money, power, acceptance, respect and love.
“…your Father knows what you need, stop worrying. Aggressively seek FIRST for the Kingdom, and all of the rest will fall into place…” (MT 6:32-33)
Let us at least begin to put life into perspective.
We thirst, we hunger. God holds the Bread of Life, and the Living Water…satisfaction can be found nowhere else.