It was a great day for a business deal. Sam had begun to whistle even before he’d had his morning coffee.
“What’s going on with you?” his wife demanded sleepily. “You’re never this cheerful in the morning.”
“That’s because we’ve never been on easy street before.”
“Easy street? What do you mean?” his wife asked, confused. “We already have all the material things we’ve dreamed of.”
“This?” Sam laughed dismissively, waving his hand. “This is nothing. I’ve dreamed of this meeting for years. Don’t you see? By the time I get back home, we’ll be filthy rich!”
But just as he said this, there was an ominous peal of thunder. Sam went over to the window in frustration, wildly throwing open the curtains. His mood changed instantly, and he began to pace like a caged animal.
Now, instead of a smug grin, a frown wrinkled his brow. He hurried into the kitchen and slammed his coffee cup down on the counter. Picking up his cell phone, Sam called his business associate in a frenzy. Then he grabbed his keys and jerked the front door open.
“What’s wrong?” Sam’s wife asked.
“Just as I thought,” he growled. “Meeting canceled.”
“But why?” his wife asked.
“Bad weather,” he snarled over his shoulder. “Look out the window. I just lost my only chance to bid on a piece of prime property. The location was worth its weight in gold, but now the other guy will get it.”
The door banged shut behind the frustrated man, and moments later his car squealed out of the driveway.
The sad thing is that Sam, a devout Christian, went to the right when God told him to go left.
It all started in Bible college, where Sam studied to prepare for a missions course. He was excited about this, but that all changed when he met his roommate, Russell.
Russell lived an affluent lifestyle, but he remained active in his local church. Because of this activity, he wanted to learn more about the Bible, but he felt that the Lord was calling him to work with his father in commercial real estate. There he could make big money, but his main purpose in becoming rich was to give a large part of his earnings to missions.
Sam, on the other hand, had grown up in poverty, and he worked for Russell and his father in order to put himself through school. But unlike Russell and his dad, Sam only saw dollar signs from the beginning.
Over time, Sam’s focus began to subtly change. Russell tried to speak to him about it on several occasions.
“It seems like you’ve lost your zeal for missions,” Russell commented one day.
“Why should I go to a foreign field when I can stay right here and do more good? I know that God doesn’t make mistakes, but I must have misunderstood Him.”
“I’m not so sure,” Russell replied. “Your love for missions seems to have been replaced by a love for money.”
Sam only dismissed this and pushed back his chair angrily.
But Russell proved to be correct, and as Sam became busier and busier, both his giving and his church involvement began to slacken. His relationship with God was pushed into the dusty corners in the attic of his life, and soon he was seldom home.
Because of his incorrect focus, Sam worked seven days a week. He told himself that now he could give his family what he never had. But all they wanted was for him to stay home at night. Sam’s marriage and home life had both become a shambles. Even though each business deal was bigger and better than the one before, he was never satisfied.
Sam was living on what I like to call the lack track. Even though he had everything he thought he wanted, Sam found that material wealth alone brought him nothing but emptiness, which Jesus described in this way in Revelation 3:17 (NIV).
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”
St. Augustine said it best when he summed life up in this way: “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
So the question is: What are you attempting to fill your life with today? It doesn’t have to be money, as it was in Sam’s life. It may be material things, pleasure or fame. My point is that anything you try to replace God with in your life will only leave you feeling empty and dissatisfied.
When Jesus spoke the above words, He was addressing the church in Laodicea. But His Words are just as relevant today, for the God of the Bible is the only one who offers lasting fulfillment. While other things may offer temporary satisfaction, God offers a deep joy and peace, and He promises never to leave you or forsake you.
So if you don’t know Him today, ask Him to cleanse you of your sin, and fill you with His Spirit. As He becomes an integral part of your life, He will mold and shape you into the person He wants you to become.
If you do know Him and, like Sam, you have focused on the wrong things, come to Him in humble repentance. As you change your mind about the way you may have been living, ask Him to give you the desire to walk on the road He has laid out for you.
In any case, put Christ first in your life today, and rejoice! You will gradually see old desires begin to fade, as life takes on new meaning and purpose.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.