UBER, LYFT AND CURB ENTER A RACE
When it rains in New York City, getting a cab is nearly impossible. I mean, I see people in cabs and I wonder, “How did he get a cab?” but I never see an empty cab. Finding a cab on a rainy day in NYC feels like chasing after the wind.
So, on a rainy Wednesday in May, I gave myself 40 minutes for a 20 minute drive and I used the official app of the NYC cab system, Curb, to schedule a cab. The Curb app kept looking, looking, looking, to no avail – not an available cab in all of NYC, apparently. But, no worries, I opened the Uber app and checked there. Uber said the nearest driver was 17 minutes away. Nope. So, I opened up the Lyft app and was told it would be 11 minutes. I had already chewed up 5 of my 40 minutes but it would have to do. I scheduled the Lyft driver.
The great thing about these apps is that you can watch your driver’s car as it makes the trek toward you. So, I watched with dismay as my Lyft driver got further away instead of closer. In 5 minutes he was 17 minutes away. How does that happen? I canceled the Lyft, went back to Curb, still unable to find a driver, so I let the app continue to look, and then went to Uber and scheduled a driver there. While I had the Uber driver on the way, I scheduled a new one for Lyft as well, hoping to get one who would travel toward me instead of back in time. As I watched the moments tick away, I switched from app to app to app, watching the progress. Uber won, and as I hopped into the Uber, I canceled the Lyft and Curb rides.
Some people treat church that way – first one use my gifts the way I want to use them, gets my tithes. Some people treat religion that way – first god to meet my needs gets my worship. Some people treat life that way – first pursuit, activity, person or organization to make me truly happy gets my respect and support.
Solomon did that. The book of Ecclesiastes is about exactly that process.
First Solomon tried wisdom -
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 [NIV] I said to myself, "Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
Then he tried fun:
Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 [NIV] I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless. "Laughter," I said, "is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?" I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
Then he tried gaining “things” - acquiring any item his heart desired:
Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 [NIV] I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well--the delights of a man's heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
None of these things brought him true fulfillment or lasting happiness. In fact, Solomon’s most repeated conclusion throughout the book of Ecclesiastes was that each thing was meaningless or amounted to chasing after the wind.
Solomon did the work for us. It’s like he opened all the “apps” available to him during his lifetime and looked for one to bring him lasting happiness and fulfillment. He ruled out every pursuit, option, theory and opportunity – except God. Nothing worked. So, buy process of elimination, that leaves God as the sole viable solution.
If I allow myself to pursue fulfillment or happiness like Solomon did it is pretty clear from the book of Ecclesiastes that I’ll be chasing after the wind.
As human beings, we want to belong. We want our gifts to be used. We want to be fulfilled. We want to feel needed – a part of something – important. We want happiness and fulfillment that stands the test of time. For all of that, we only need to open the God “app” and pursue Him with everything we’ve got.
We can also open the Holy Spirit “app” and open yourselves up to bearing fruit that lasts a lifetime. We can open the love “app” and find true fulfillment by giving it away generously. We can open the forgiveness “app” and find true freedom by offering it liberally to others.
The Bible is an invaluable resource - the single location for everything we need to know about any of these “apps.” And, guess what, there are actually a myriad of Bible apps. The Blue Letter Bible is one I use that includes dozens of translations of the Bible as well as the Strong’s concordance and a search function that will help you find every use of a word or that scripture you want to quote but can’t quite remember.
After all the things he tried Solomon bottom-lined it for us at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 12:13 [NIV] Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
Sisters, let’s open the God “app” every day of our lives and pursue meaning, purpose and happiness through Him alone. It’s the only thing that isn’t chasing after the wind.
Oh, in case you are wondering, I did make it to my appointment with a minute to spare.
I’d love to hear your comments and questions. Tell me what Bible app or Bible study app you use most and why. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.