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A FULL LIFE
A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
"Not very long," answered the Mexican.
"Well, then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.
The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life."
The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.
"With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.
"You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise."
"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.
"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.
"And after that?"
"Afterwards? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"
"Millions? Really? And after that?"
"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take siestas with your wife, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."
JEALOUS IN A RESTAURANT
There is an old story about an older couple having dinner in a restaurant. The wife sees another couple about their age sitting in a booth nearby. She sees the husband sitting close to his wife, with his arm around her. He is whispering things in her ear, and she is smiling and blushing. Heís gently rubbing her shoulder and touching her hair.
The woman turns to her husband and says, "Look at the couple over there. Look how close that man is to his wife, how heís talking to her. Look at how sweet he is. Why donít you ever do that?"
Her husband looks up from his Caesar salad and glances over at the next booth. Then he turns to his wife and says, "Honey, I donít even know that woman."
Eggerichs, E. (2010). Love & respect. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
SEEKING THE RIGHT KINGDOM
She is filled with bitterness as she speaks to me. Jillian (not her real name) has suffered from a stroke and her tears run freely as she recounts once again her desire to live at home.
Those who have power of Attorney have decided that she is best cared for at Shalom, but she doesnít want to spend the remaining years of her life in an Aged Care Facility. She doesnít like the room, the people, the food. She has money, so much money, "thousands of dollars," but it is no good to her now.
She looks at me through tears of sheer frustration as her kingdom is beyond her reach. She is bereft and disinherited, with all her money just lying in the bank. In building a kingdom of outward luxury, she has forgotten the kingdom of her heart, those inward resources that would enable her to give thanks in all circumstances and to experience inward joy no matter what she encounters in life. She kicks against the goads and says "I DONíT WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS!" I can understand that. Iíve exclaimed these words with the same anguished vehemence, only she is in danger of losing her sanity and even worse, her own soul.
Jesus tells a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven in contrast to the kingdoms we try to build for ourselves on earth in Matthew 13:24. Jillianís freedom and contentment depends on which kingdom she seeks and no, I am not speaking about suicide, euthanasia or death. Seeking the Kingdom of Heaven has little to do with dying and much to do with experiencing life to the full, here and now.
Sure, heaven, the Kingdom of God, is a LITERAL place, but Jesus said something interesting. He said ďThe Kingdom of Heaven has comeĒ (Matthew 4:17). In fact we pray that way whenever we pray the Lordís prayer. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We pray that the will and authority of the Kingdom of Heaven will be translated into the everyday things of earth, here and now.
One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls aro...
I sat down and looked through some magazines this past week. I discovered that if I want to feel right, I need to get a NordicTrack. I donít have a NordicTrack, just a membership down at the gym, so I suddenly realized that I didnít feel as healthy as I thought I did.
I then read that if I wanted to be stylish, I would need to buy a Toyota Camry. Our family van was in the shop, so I had been driving our old Mercury Sable. That felt bad enough. Real men drive SUVs or bright red sports cars. Iíve got four kids, so I donít have the luxury of driving what real men drive. So I found out that I couldnít be stylish with the cars I owned.
Then I saw that if I wanted to really feel the spring season, I had to dress for the spring season, and the only place for that was at Dillardís. I knew I wouldnít have a chance to go to Dillardís that week. Suddenly the beautiful weather just didnít seem that beautiful. I just wasnít dressed for it.
It didnít get any better. I learned that I needed to be opening my mail with knife from Oneida. I only had a two-dollar letter opener from Office Depot. Now even my mail was disappointing. On top of that, I discovered that I couldnít have a good meal if I wasnít in Texas Ė at least not a meal that would satisfy me. So much for my Lean Cuisines. Then I read that if I wanted to be a man, at least a manlier man than my neighbor, I had to drive a Yard-Man mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine. At least it was cheaper than a new SUV.
I like my house until I saw the new developmentís ad. I thought my family and I were close until I realized we didnít have season passes to the amusement park. I even thought I loved my wife, but since I hadnít bought her a diamond necklace from the jewelry store, I was informed that I didnít. I found out that I canít even be romantic with my wife unless we use Sylvania light bulbs. Wouldnít you know, we have GE.
By the time I got finished with those magazines, I wasnít just depressed Ė I needed counseling. Ever felt that way? We all have. Itís the sad fruit of living life that covets.
James Emery White, You Can Experience an Authentic Life (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000), 139-140
A little girl walking in a garden noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. ďItís so pretty!Ē she exclaimed. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. ďThis flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!Ē she cried. So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. It wasnít long until the flower wilted and died.
When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, ďYou have destroyed my finest plant!Ē
ďIím sorry, but I didnít like it in that dirt,Ē she said. The gardener replied, ďI chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.Ē
Often we murmur because of the circumstances into which God has sovereignly placed us. We fail to realize that He is using our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty. Contentment comes when we accept what God is doing and thank Him for it.
Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer at age 33. He had just won a PGA championship and had ten tournament victories to his credit.
He wrote, "A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I’m going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It’s just a question of when. Everything I had accomplished in golf became meaningless to me. All I wanted to do was live."
Then he remembered something that Larry Moody, who teaches a Bible study on the tour, had said to him. "Zinger, we’re not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. We’re in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living."
Golfer Paul Azinger recovered from chemotherapy and returned to the PGA tour. He’s done pretty well. But that bout with cancer deepened his perspective. He wrote, "I’ve made a lot of money since I’ve been on the tour, and I’ve won a lot of tournaments, but that happiness is always temporary. The only way you will ever have true contentment is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not saying that nothing ever bothers me and I don’t have problems, but I feel like I’ve found the answer to the six-foot hole."
A. Todd Coget
[The Answer to Death, Citation: Robert Russell, "Resurrection Promises," Preaching Today, Tape No. 151.]
Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer at age 33.
He had just won a PGA championship and had ten tournament victories to his credit.
He wrote, "A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. Iím going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. Itís just a question of when. Everything I had accomplished in golf became meaningless to me. All I wanted to do was live."
Then he remembered something that Larry Moody, who teaches a Bible study on the tour, had said to him. "Zinger, weíre not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. Weíre in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living."
Golfer Paul Azinger recovered from chemotherapy and returned to the PGA tour.
Heís done pretty well.
But that bout with cancer deepened his perspective. He wrote, "Iíve made a...
The result of nationwide statistical survey conducted by Dr. Baby Ruth Santos-Hablo for the evangelical churches in the Philippines, the average church membership during their regular worship services attendance is ranging only from 50 to 80 believers. The real reason according to her is not the limitation of the growth expansion of churches but the contentment of church workers in maintaining this average number of attendance. Leaders are not focusing their attention in evangelization but by maintaining their regular programs as it is. (The Church Growth of Philippine Missionary Fellowship)
NO MATTER WHAT
A number of years ago, there was a newspaper account of a speech given by the president of a well-known university to a group of influential businessmen and civic leaders. The president told of a recent experience which he, his audience, and the newspaper reporter found humorous.
The president was shopping during the Christmas season and happened to pass by a Salvation Army volunteer, standing by a "donation kettle" and ringing a bell. As he paused to make a donation, the woman volunteer asked this educator: "Sir, are you saved?" when he replied that he supposed he was, she was not satisfied. So she pursued the matter further: "I mean, have you ever given your full life to the Lord?"
At this point, the president told his audience, he thought he should enlighten this persistent woman concerning his identity: "I am the president of such and such university, and as such, I am also president of its school of theology." The lady considered his response for a moment, and then replied, "It doesnít matter wherever youíve been, or whatever you are, you can still be saved."
And the same is true of each one of usÖ
We can have new life.
SOURCE: Paul Decker in "Double Delivery" on www.sermoncentral.com. http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=45810