Life of Emptiness

by Frank Jones


“The serpent lied, and we got taken in. Now, despite the overwhelming evidence that we live amidst overflowing abundance — abundant food, clothes, warmth, friends, things — we always feel it’s not quite enough. We sense it’s running out, it’s insufficient. We live for the Next Thing.

There is an Indian parable about this. A guru had a disciple and was so pleased with the man’s spiritual progress that he left him on his own. The man lived in a little mud hut. He lived simply, begging for his food. Each morning, after his devotions, the disciple washed his loin cloth and hung it out to dry. One day, he came back to discover the loincloth torn and eaten by rats. He begged the villagers for another, and they gave it to him. But the rats ate that one, too. So he got himself a cat. That took care of the rats, but now when he begged for food he had to beg for milk for his cat as well. “This won’t do,” he thought. “I’ll get a cow.” So he got a cow and found he had to beg now for fodder. So he decided to till and plant the ground around his hut. But soon he found no time for contemplation, so he hired servants to tend his farm. But overseeing the labors became a chore, so he married to have a white to help him. After time, the disciple became the wealthiest man in the village.

The guru was traveling by there and stopped in. He was shocked to see that where once stood a simple mud hut there now loomed a palace surrounded by a vast estate, worked by many servants. “What is the meaning of this?” He asked his disciple.

“You won’t believe this, sir,” the man replied. “Butt there was no other way I could keep my loincloth.”” (“Trapped in the Cult of the Next Thing,” Christianity Today. September 6, 1999)

Vanity of Vanities … says the Preacher.