The Movie Clip – The Greatest Showman (2017)
The Greatest Showman is a musical movie that tells the story of P.T. Barnum and the circus. A major plot line in the film is Barnum’s quest for success and validation. He has married into a wealthy family and constantly feels like an outsider who must prove his own worth. The highlight of his professional career is marked by the opportunity to promote a concert by world famous singer Jenny Lind. Jenny will finally validate his hard work and prove that he belongs with the elite.
The irony of the film is that Jenny Lind sings a song entitled “Never Enough.” The song repeatedly reminds the listener that no matter how much fame or success they earn, it will never be enough. It reminds us of the futility of seeking joy, meaning, and purpose in something as trivial as accomplishment or wealth.
The Bible Connection – Meaningless and Chasing the Wind
The book of Ecclesiastes is written by “The Teacher” (likely Solomon, the son of King David). The Teacher uses his wealth and power to pursue everything this world has to offer. He chases after food, music, sex, accomplishment, and much more. He is trying to find meaning and purpose in life, but keeps coming up empty.
Throughout the book, The Teacher repeats the same refrain. All of his pursuits are, “meaningless, meaningless, a chasing after a wind.” Chasing the wind is a waste of time because you’ll never be able to catch it. The Teacher concludes that all his wealth, and all the physical pleasure he obtained didn’t really give meaning to life. He decides that no matter how much he builds and grows his kingdom, it will never really satisfy. No matter what he does or receives, it will truly never be enough.
This is the experience we have had in our own lives. We think if we find the perfect guy/girl, then we’ll be happy. We are certain if we get our dream job, then we’ll never be hopeless again. We are sure that when we win the big game, it will validate our hard work. Time and again, however, we find that the joy and peace this world offers are temporary. They leave us feeling empty inside, and no matter how much we get, it will never be enough.
God alone can satisfy our souls. This is what Solomon concludes at the end of his journey for purpose and meaning, and it must be our conclusion as well. God is the giver of joy, peace, hope, and purpose. Any attempt to find those things apart from God will eventually end up feeling like we are chasing the wind.
Scriptures to Use – Satisfied in God
This passage proclaims that even a single day in God’s presence will satisfy us more than a thousand days elsewhere. Not only are the things of this world never enough, God’s presence is always enough to satisfy our souls.
Solomon accomplishes everything he can imagine. He builds houses, plants gardens, and accumulates wealth. At the end of the journey, he finds it to be meaningless.
John highlights the temporary nature of the things of this world. God abides forever, even if the world is passing away.