It is entirely wonderful to find a single profound truth woven through many lives and over many centuries. Such discoveries highlight the powerful nature of such a truth as it permeates languages, cultures, and time.
Although there are many, here are the 3 means by which I've most clearly perceived this devastating truth:
1) The Scriptures, penned by various inspired servants of God.
2) Men, who lived in centuries long past, who put powerful truths into profoundly simple statements. These have helped to clear away the cloudy vagaries which would endeavor to hide such treasures.
3) The lives of those who have lived in such a way to declare by their very lives, and in some cases also by their deaths, that this is truth.
This single truth saturates the below quotations and Scripture verses:
All men seek happiness this is without exception. This is the motive of every action of every man.
Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
The men of this world are children. Offer a child an apple or a banknote and he will doubtless choose the apple. - John Newton
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
- C. S. Lewis, The weight of Glory and Other Addresses
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
- Westminster Catechism
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord.
- George Mueller
I find the entirety of the above list to be sharing a common theme: unbreakable and unspeakable joy comes uniquely from a relationship with God, who alone can ultimately satisfy the human heart. (Sound familiar? I know, it's review.) How amazing it is that our God has gone through such incredible lengths to reveal such truth. Thousands of years are not too long to ensure that God's people get an appropriate view of His truth.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.