Our family recently returned from our 2022 summer trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. 

Was it a good trip?  Yes.  Was it a vacation?  Well, not really.  Let me explain.

If you haven’t been, you should know that it is a massively entertaining place–Full of thrilling rides, entertaining shows, life-size characters, full-sensory experiences, and almost every kind of food you can imagine.  It is truly amazing what you can do when money is no object.  If you go, you will be entertained in almost every way. 

And yet, for all the thrills, entertainment, joy, food, and fun, there was no denying how draining it was.  For the longer you stayed, the more you are drained.  Physically—you walk miles and miles in the hot Florida sun.  Like the WW1 Bataan Death March, it lasts from 5 to 10 days, and captives are pushed to their maximum physical limits.  Mentally—there are times when you want to give up, you want nothing but your hotel bed, but it is impossible to quit.  And financially—in exchange for all the fun, they have an ingenious system designed to squeeze every last dollar from you.  And when you come home, though your heart will be full of memories, nearly every other part of you will be empty.  They don’t call it Universal for nothing.  So while it was a good trip, Universal is not what I consider a relaxing vacation. 

What’s the lesson here?  Give me 200 more words.

As I stood in line on verge of a heat stroke waiting for a $17 lemonade, I had an epiphany.  Maybe it was the dehydration kicking in, but it occurred to me that this is a microcosm of what the world offers to us:  Entertainment, thrills, characters, fun and the experience of your life.  But still, for all the world offers you, it always leaves you feeling empty.

Give a person everything this world has to offer—all the fame, money, power, pleasure, and thrills they can imagine. Is their soul satisfied?  No.

Long before theme parks, King Solomon tried to try to experience ALL the world could offer:  Intellect, Work, Pleasure, Riches, and more.  “And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.  Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

Not all his pursuits were bad, they just weren’t fulfilling.  We should learn from this.

We are all eternal creatures.  As such, there is an eternal part of us that cannot be filled by anything in this world.  It is meant to be filled only by God Himself. 

So, seek the Lord with all your heart. 

Everything else will leave you empty.