You can’t go to the Jersey Shore without walking on the boardwalk and partaking in the many healthy delicacies it offers. And while walking the boardwalk, you just can’t go without having the frozen custard, the famous pizza, or the french fries before you leave. To do so just wouldn’t be right. It would feel like something was missing from your visit there…that in order to have had your fill or for your visit to be complete, you must have the necessary ingredients: custard, pizza & fries. At least that’s what I think. Perhaps you have a different set of ingredients for your boardwalk fill.
I think the Jersey Shore Gulls think same thing…They just can’t go to the boardwalk without having their fill….of french fries. With the same boldness they exhibit while taking sandwiches (see Part 1), their minds are set on the Fries of Life. If you ask me, I think the seagulls were addicted to fries. I really do. As I visited the shore throughout my childhood, I remember the seagulls swooping down to grab hold of these fries from unsuspecting tourists. Some tourists, so amused by the seagulls’ behavior, would encourage the gulls by throwing them a fry or holding a fry out for them to take. I remember thinking: “What are they thinking?! Don’t they know that when you feed one, others will come?! Helloooooo?!”
When we think of addictions, we often think of others being addicted to crack, cocaine, alcohol, chocolate, pills, or whatever. But if we think about it more, all of us struggle with some kind of addiction. It might be an addiction to any substance, but at the very least, because of our sin nature, we struggle with the addiction of me (placing ourselves (what we want, etc.) above God). We may often think, “If only I can get that one thing, that fry, then I will have what I need and be happy.” As Christians, we know that this is an endless pursuit, but we may still live for it. We often seek after people’s praise, work for material things, eat certain tasty foods, or whatever to get that high or sense of gratification, only to long for it again real soon. Like feeding the seagull, feeding it only results in more hungry seagulls. Getting our desires filled by things in this world will also result in more of a hunger for worldly things, and yet we would never be satisfied.
I’m reminded of the Woman at the Well (John 4), where Jesus shares with her that he is the living water and that if she takes the water he offers, she will never be thirsty again. He then goes on to tell her her history of relationships with men. What is the connection between his living water and her history with men? I think Jesus was telling her that she was “looking for love in all the wrong places.” I believe Jesus was telling her that he was the one who will complete her, who will fill her with the love that she needs. These men in her life were french fries…they would fill her for a little while, but their love was not meant to fill her or to bring her life. Nothing will fill us like the living water…like a genuine, honest, and heartfelt relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Jersey Shore Gulls will never know about this, so they will go on taking sandwiches and feeding their addiction to fries, but they will never be truly filled. Hopefully we won’t be so gullible and do the same.
* Seagull artwork by Arlene Miller (Fred’s Aunt)