October 31st marks many things, but for this blog it marks the beginning of “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” Week.
Every day this week (Mon-Fri) I’m posting excerpts from Tullian Tchividjian’s book, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”. Thanks to my friends at Crossway Books, at the bottom of each day’s post there is an opportunity for subscribers to the blog to win a copy of the book as well.
Here is today’s excerpt:
We All Crave The Everything
Whatever security, happiness, relief, rescue, affirmation, meaning, and sense of purpose we’re privileged enough to experience—it still isn’t enough. Something within us hungers for what we don’t yet have. And whether or not we realize it, this drives our every pursuit. We crave the more—sometimes wildly and illogically, it seems, but consistently, recurrently. We’ll try anything and everything to fill this vacuum we abhor.
Observing this phenomenon, the wisest of the wise have concluded that it points to God. Augustine caught this perhaps most famously and succinctly, sixteen centuries ago, on the opening page of his Confessions, where he told the Lord, “You made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Was any better description of humanity ever written?
Are you experiencing any restlessness in your life somewhere? I am. I’m sure we all are, if we’re honest. Because we crave the everything.
Twelve centuries after Augustine, the brilliant mind of Pascal took up this same human predicament. “All men seek happiness,” he noted; “this is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” (So perceptive, that man Pascal.) He then went on to cite humanity’s endless sighs and groans as confirmation that nobody ever really satisfies this innate desire: “All complain—princes and subjects, noblemen and commoners, old and young, strong and weak, learned and ignorant, healthy and sick, of all countries, all times, all ages, and all conditions.” Such universal dissatisfaction ought to convince us “of our inability to reach the good by our own efforts,” Pascal says, but it’s a lesson we fail to grasp: “And thus, while the present never satisfies us, experience dupes us,” and so onward we stumble “from misfortune to misfortune.”
Although, Pascal continues, “there was once in man a true happiness,” nothing remains of this—except “the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate.” Why are they all inadequate? Pascal reaches the astute deduction: “Because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.”
The everything we crave is so vast, so comprehensive, so deep, so high, that it extends even this far—to God himself.
Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything (pp.26-28)
Day #1′s giveaway is now closed. Congratulations Gary Dieffenderfer!