Edmund’s Diminishing Returns


“…the more he ate the more he wanted to eat…At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves.“- C.S Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 33.

“All the toil of man if for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.”- Ecclesiastes 6:7

Edmund is sitting in a sleigh with a witch in a magical, snow covered wood. Amongst all the wonder of walking through a seemingly ordinary, wooden wardrobe to discover a hidden land, he has uncovered the shadows of a basic, economic principle. The economic law of diminishing returns states, “When increasing amounts of one factor of production are employed in production along with a fixed amount of some other production factor, after some point, the resulting increases in output of product become smaller and smaller.” As i understand it, and i’m no economist, at its basic level applied to, let’s say, pizza, the more and more pizza one eats, the less satisfaction one receives from eating it. Edmund finds out quickly that the more and more he eats of this magical substance, the more he isn’t satisfied. Edmund’s discovery and situation, however, are much more deadly than the economic principle. See, as Edmund eats he only desires more. He realizes he isn’t being satisfied, but he also becomes hungrier. Normally in the case of pizza, you would realize after a while that you must quit eating pizza as the notion crosses your mind that you are getting full, and the pizza isn’t satisfying anymore. So in response, we stop eating pizza and save ourselves the discomfort of drowning in a pit of bottomless cheese and sauce. Edmund, though, is stuck in a vicious cycle, and he doesn’t understand his own danger. The more he eats the more unsatisfied he is, but the more he eats, the hungrier he becomes, thus becoming a slave to this Turkish Delight. Edmund’s discovery and the economic law only mirror a crucial spiritual law. Humans spend their time investing, “eating”, and living for things that cannot satisfy them. As we invest out time in living for our jobs and money, as we pour our energy into trying to win the opinions of others, as we desperately seek sexual fulfillment in pornography and lust, as we seek our worth in being our own “individual”, as we starve ourselves for the perfect body image, as we live for true joy and fulfillment in anything the world can offer us, we all uncover the same spiritual law. This junk simply can’t do it for us. The problem is, though, that we are stuck in a vicious cycle like Edmund. We know these things can’t bring life, and yet we can’t stop doing them because we crave the little joy that it brings us. We desperately desire the little buzz these things can bring, and they all bring momentary pleasure. Humans are joy vacuums. We are satisfaction black holes. We are enslaved. While these things bring joy for the moment, and satisfaction for the second, they leave us empty and craving only more and eventually lead to death. But there is One big enough to fill us, and One, infinite source of pleasure that we cannot exhaust. He is the One in whom all our desires find blissful rest. He is the One we were made for. He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). He is Jesus. Every day is a fight to cast off the Turkish Delight we are feasting on and to seek our life, identity, salvation, joy, and satisfaction in the person of Christ. Will we be totally satisfied this side of eternity? No, because our Turkish Delight is deceptively alluring, and our sinful desires have not been totally eradicated. But let us, each day, identify the Turkish Delights we seek our all in. Let us realize the danger we are in and turn and feast on Him by repenting of our selfishness and rebellion and come by faith again to trust in Christ and all the promises surrounding Him. There is something better than Turkish Delight out there. There is a spiritual law that will never diminish, and He is the Christ.

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy, and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”- Isaiah 55:1-2


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