Read Mark 8:27-38
There’s a story of a conversation between a rich executive and an old-timer fisherman. It seems the businessman was annoyed at the sight of the fisherman, in the middle of the day, sitting lazily beside his boat.
“Why aren't you out there fishing?” he asked. The fisherman said, “Because I’ve caught enough fish for today.” “Well, why don’t you catch more fish than you need?” he prompted. To which the fisherman only replied, “What would I do with them?” By now, the rich guy, thinking the fisherman had spent too much time in the sun, impatiently advised him, “You could earn more money, buy a better boat, go deeper and catch more fish. You could buy nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make even more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich, just like me.”
Settling back, the old fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?” The millionaire thought he had him now. “You could sit back and enjoy life.” With a twinkle in his eye the older man replied, “That's what I’m doing now.”
Contentment. Some people never find it. Their “pursuit of happiness” has turned into a foot-race with the bank. And more times than not, the bank wins. Live the good life… enjoy life to the fullest... But how do we do that? Buy more, get more, and do more? But once we've “bought it,” “got it,” and “done it,” are we any better off? Jesus said no.
In Mark chapter 8, Jesus is speaking with His disciples and making some pretty bold statements about gaining and losing.
If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life. Mark 8:35
Keeping and losing… giving up and finding. Those words turn our “give me more” mentality upside-down. In essence, Jesus says we’ll finally enjoy the good life not by getting but by giving. And not giving just anything. We have to give ourselves. We have to lose ourselves. And the “true life” He promises in return is so much more than anything our human pursuit could obtain. This life carries us right into eternity. And just in case we’re still tempted to continue our “trivial” pursuit, Jesus drives His point home with a dire warning.
And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Mark 8:36
…gain the whole world but lose your soul. To have every material thing you could possibly want and not have God – that is an eternal loss. One that, in the end, you can never make up.
So what should we pursue? Where is true happiness found? I like what the Psalmist said in verse 8 of Psalm 63: My soul follows hard after Thee. The New Living Translation says I follow close behind You. The Message Bible says, I hold onto You for dear life.
To truly find THE Source of happiness, and then hold on for dear life. This is the only pursuit that will give you contentment to last not just a lifetime... but an eternity.
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