Our Daily Bread, January 21, 1994
In his book Facing Loneliness, J. Oswald Sanders writes, "The round of pleasure or the amassing of wealth are but vain attempts to escape from the persistent ache. The millionaire is usually a lonely man and the comedian is often more unhappy than his audience."
Sanders goes on the emphasize that being successful often fails to produce satisfaction. Then he refers to Henry Martyn, a distinguished scholar, as an example of what he is talking about. Martyn, a Cambridge University student, was honored at only 20 years of age for his achievements in mathematics. In fact, he was given the highest recognition possible in that field. And yet he felt an emptiness inside. He said that instead of finding fulfillment in his achievements, he had "only grasped a shadow."
After evaluating his life's goals, Martyn sailed to India as a missionary at the age of 24. When he arrived, he prayed, "Lord, let me burn out for You." In the next 7 years that preceded his death, he translated the New Testament into three difficult Eastern languages. These notable achievements were certainly not passing "shadows."