“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’” -Matthew 11:16-17
If you believe the dictionary definition of “satisfaction,” it is something you will never acquire! It says satisfaction is “the fulfillment of your wishes, your expectations, or your needs and the pleasure derived from this.” If this were only true, but it is not, and your own experience proves it.
Who has ever been satisfied with the alleged fulfillment of all their wishes or expectations? Even the fulfillment of their personally determined needs leaves them wanting more and more, or at least something different, and then something different from the different!
In Matthew 11, Jesus speaks of that first century generation’s criticisms of John the Baptist’s message and life and then of His own message and example. Neither satisfied them apparently. One was spartan and self-sacrificing with a clarion call to repent. The other, Jesus, was seen by them as the opposite of John. They said of Jesus, “He came eating and drinking; He was a glutton and a drunkard with unsavory friends.”
This unmitigated lack of satisfaction is the primary characterization of today’s generation. The nation is wrought by virus, riots, destruction, murders, racism, divided political persuasions, hatred of laws, love for laws, defund, fund, tear down, build up. No one is satisfied! Our society is wracked by grievances, by offended parties, by rage or faux-rage, by vastly differing opinions.
Does Scripture offer any respite for the culture and society of this present age? Not really! Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Again, He prophesied about the generation of His return: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37).
Respite? Hardly! A day of little faith? What does this look like? Proliferation of cults, false religions, rampant atheism, hatred vitriolically voiced towards believers, the spirit of anti-Christ sweeping through the culture?
What about a day “like the days of Noah?” God’s Word describes it in Genesis 6: “The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” and “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence,” so much so, that God utterly destroyed it with a universal, ravaging, lethal flood which destroyed the entire population, minus eight people.
It goes without saying that few, if any, are really satisfied. There is no satisfaction in the hearts of mankind. Are you satisfied? Are you content with who you are, with what you have? Where does satisfaction truly lie? Where do you find it? Or is it just a figment of your imagination?
At the end of Matthew 11, Jesus addresses rampant dissatisfaction with its only possible fulfillment. He says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Dissatisfaction is an interminable restlessness; lack of contentment is endless uneasiness, wearying tension, worrying pressure. On the other hand, genuine satisfaction is rest; true contentment is void of tension and pressure. There is a constant internal urging which continually agitates the unsatisfied soul, even when he or she thinks they are satisfied; this is the Man of Sin at work. He is ever-pushing as he did with Eve in the Garden. “There is so much more! You are missing out; you shall not rest until you have it.” Just as Satan pestered Eve, “Did God really say…?” so he agitates you continually, too.
You will only find rest for your spirit, rest for your soul in Christ. He alone offers what will really bring a contentment to your heart. He is your satisfaction! To have Jesus and know you are in Him and He in you is the very core of satisfaction. Augustine famously said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”
To know and firmly believe that no one, no thing, no force can ever pluck you out of His hand and that Jesus is your all-in-all is to rest your soul from every agitation. Your soul finds in Him a “home.” Rest, weary one, and be at peace! This is His gracious offer to you.
“Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
(First verse of Civilla D. Martin’s hymn, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” 1905)