Superfluous Goodness

When I opened Microsoft Word earlier, I realized that I was pretty out of the loop with what I was supposed to write about.

I mean, “too much of a good thing” is a decently common metaphor. But when searching for a verse in the Bible specifically detailing it, the results were dicey at best. I ended up searching through a few topical Bible verse websites until one specific example stood out. Before long, I realized that I was looking for the wrong thing. I was looking for the term ‘excess’ (which technically works, but doesn’t quite sum up the entirety of what’s going on). I feel like a more fitting term is ‘moderation’.

And it’s pretty weird to think that you can have too much of something good.

A super cool verse that kind of exemplifies this is 1 Corinthians 6:12.

“’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” (NIV)

It’s entirely just the ability to be able to discern if something (good or bad) is taking more time and effort and energy in your life than glorifying God.

A considerably more well-known example is the life of Solomon. It’s like the textbook definition of excessive. Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, he chronicles the lack of satisfaction and ensuing emptiness that results from chasing and prioritizing desires of the heart (even if noble). A quick glance at the book reveals that the heading of the first chapter of Ecclesiastes reads, “Everything is Meaningless”.

It’s a solid indication.

Further throughout the book of Ecclesiastes though, he references the void value of these things with now well-known phrases like “chasing after wind” and “nothing new under the sun”. In a darker and more radical (and relatively long) passage, he states:

“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 denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labour, 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.” (Excerpts from Ecclesiastes 2, NIV)

I can personally testify that I have neither the flat-out cash nor the dedication required to take my journey down that road nearly as far as Solomon ventured.

Which means that if anyone was to test the theory of fulfilment through abundantly good (and in his case, some seriously gnarly) avenues, it would’ve been Solomon. Yet at least the majority and the overarching theme of Ecclesiastes (the stories of his wealthy splurges) is emptiness and lacking in meaning.

And it’s not that there’s nothing on earth that’s both wholesome and enjoyable (Paramore’s totally a solid candidate); there absolutely is. Is going to watch the newest Spider-Man reboot in theatres with your friends inherently a bad thing? In no way is that kind of thing, on its own, sinful. Even more serious endeavours, like spending time with your family, is absolutely not naturally a bad thing. Things only truly become entangled when these good things (and in some circumstances, things that can be used to glorify God in moderation) domineer your daily life in a way that overshadows your relationship with Him.

He’s the tower standing strong in the midst of the tsunami of our greatest daily struggles. And whether that be an unhealthy amount of Stranger Things binge-watching or Snapchat streaks taking precedence over (it’s a serious concern), it kind of sucks. On a bit more of a positive note, we’ll always have a God of infinite value to look up to.

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