“Seek” is not a word that most of us use in our everyday vocabulary. “Hide and Seek,” maybe, or the Biblical quote, “Seek and ye shall find,” are two of the very few times we might use it, or we might occasionally describe something as being “highly sought after.” But most of the time, we don’t “seek” things. We just search for them. So what’s the difference?
The dictionary actually defines the word “seek” in terms of the word “search”: Seek means “to go in search or quest of.” The word “quest” is also defined in terms of “search”: Quest means “a search or pursuit in order to find or obtain something.” And one last definition: Pursuit means “an effort to secure or obtain.” So seeking is a search involving effort, for something specific that you are trying to obtain. The implication is that the object you are seeking has significant value. You search for your lost car keys; you seek a lost treasure.
So what is it that most of us are seeking in this life? What is it that holds significant value for us? What do we put effort into obtaining?
If we measure effort by the time we spend doing something, most of us must be seeking something to do with our occupations – after all, we spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (and usually more) at our jobs. So is it a paycheck that we value? A professional reputation? Personal satisfaction in a job well done? Some combination of those things?
Maybe we should measure our effort not by time, but by passion. What is it that we are passionate about? What do we do that revives us, that excites us, that moves us to action? Is it a hobby? Charitable or philanthropic work? Are we seeking to challenge ourselves physically or mentally? To help our fellow man? To make the world a better place?
Or perhaps effort should be measured by our mental investment in the outcome of our seeking. How important is our quest? How concerned are we about finding or achieving it? How much does the success of our seeking matter to us? What will happen if we never find what we seek?
However it is you choose to define what you’re seeking, we’re all seeking something. Wealth, wisdom, fulfillment, a happy family, a better world, God. We all seek, and we all find, although we don’t always find what we were seeking. But sometimes, it’s just the act of seeking that’s important.