Summary: More principles about making the best out of life.


Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

INTRO.- Making the best out of life. Most people want the best they can get out of life. How do we get it?

ILL.- Some people are shooting for the stars! In TOKYO, Japan, people are hoping to win the lottery jackpot by consulting a zodiac chart before forking out money for a ticket. A survey of 3,515 lottery winners revealed that those born under the star sign of Capricorn were the most likely to win, followed by Aquarius and Pisces. Least likely to hit the jackpot were people born under the sign of Gemini, according to the survey.

Fortune-telling is a thriving industry in Japan, with everything from blood group to sushi preferences used to make predictions.

Brothers and sisters, what do you think of this or make of this? I think it’s a big joke, but not to some people. Consulting your horoscope or some fortune-teller is not the way to win the lottery nor to make the best out of life! But consulting the Giver of life is certainly the way to a better life!

ILL.- Are most people happy with their life? Dennis Wholey, author of Are You Happy? reports that according to expert opinion, perhaps only 20 percent of Americans are happy. Those experts would probably agree with the definition of happiness offered by psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who said, "Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children and by children to adults."

ILL.- Six weeks before he died, a reporter asked Elvis Presley, "Elvis, when you first started playing music, you said you wanted to be rich, famous and happy. Are you happy?" "I’m lonely as hell" he replied.

Most of us have discovered that happiness is not found in things nor in accomplishments. Things don’t thrill and accomplishments don’t achieve.

ILL.- In 1968 I ordered a new Pontiac Firebird with a 400 cubic inch, 330 horsepower, 4-speed transmission, 160 mph on the speedometer. It was nice. It was powerful. It was fast, but the thrill didn’t last. Things don’t thrill. Or at least, eventually the thrill fades away.

ILL.- In June of 1990, I probably ran my best marathon (26.2 miles) considering the weather conditions. The weather in Duluth, MN, was a high of 75 degrees that day (not good marathoning weather. 40 is more like it). Out of approximately 5,500 runners I finished about 140th overall. Only 237 runners finished under 3 hours. My time was two hours and 54 minutes or an average of 6 minutes and 40 seconds a mile. Not bad for a 45 year-old male. But certain worldly accomplishments don’t achieve! They don’t achieve any lasting results...any lasting spiritual results. I never talked to anybody that day about Christ. I never witnessed to anybody. I never baptized anybody.

I ran for hours alongside Lake Superior and not one runner came up to me and said (as the eunuch did to Philip in Acts 8), "Why can’t I be baptized?"

Generally, worldly accomplishments don’t achieve spiritual results. Happiness is not found in things nor accomplishments. And on the other side of the coin we find that many people are not very happy with their lives for one negative reason or another: family troubles, kid problems, work life, financial struggles, poor health, fear, etc.

Are you happy? You may never be completely happy in this life or with your life. But if there is any happiness or joy to be found, it is in the Lord!

ILL.- I like the story about the 92 year old lady who was very contented with her life. Another lady wrote these words about her: "She is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair brushed, and her makeup perfectly applied, in spite of the fact she is legally blind. Today she has moved to a nursing home. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making this move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, where I am employed, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

"As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on her window. ‘I love it,’ she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"’Mrs.. Jones, you haven’t seen the room ... just wait,’" I said. Then she spoke these words that I will never forget. ‘That does not have anything to do with it,’ she gently replied. ‘Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not does not depend on how the furniture is arranged. It is how I arrange my mind. I have already decided to love it. It is a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day and all of the happy memories I have stored away...just for this time in my life. Age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you have already put in.’"

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