Lost in a Dream Come True

The old Yiddish proverb translates as “Man plans, God laughs.”  Equally old is the statement by the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, “Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last.”  So, should we live life completely in the moment with no thought for the future?  After all, God does say, So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  (Matthew 6:34)



I have a friend who is a great guy who loves his family.  But he’s constantly working at his job.  He has a flexible starting time, but he almost always works late into the evening.  He rarely sees any of his family, except on weekends.  And on many of those, he wants to be able to relax or concentrate on his special hobby.  He is so concerned with the day-to-day need to earn enough money  to take care of his family financially, that he’s missing the whole point of having a family.  This is not unusual, even among today’s Christians.  Yet the Bible warns us of the rich fool who kept working and planning for his eventual financial goal of retiring and taking it easy.  The result?  God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (Luke 12:20)

Many workers are now even working during the time the are allotted for vacation.  According to a study by the online career site, Glassdoor, the average U.S. employee used only half of his or her eligible time off in the past year.  Overall, 40 percent of those surveyed took less than a quarter of the vacation time they had coming to them. The research shows that just 25 percent of workers use all of their eligible time off.  Even those who do take some vacation days have trouble truly getting away from the office. More than 60 percent of the employees who took paid time off in the past 12 months admit doing at least some work while on vacation.

So why are today’s workers so concerned with today or only as far as the next paycheck instead of thinking about the future–whether it’s tomorrow or retirement or forever?  It’s work, work, work. Day after day after day.  Too many of us have turned our jobs and our money-making capability into who we are.  Our job and success at that job defines who we are.  We forget that no one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

It’s really simple.  Why kill ourselves (sometimes literally) trying to make a living in a way that diminishes our family relationships and our connection to God?  All we have to do is seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  (Matthew 6:33)  Decide to put Him first in your life.  Do what He intends for you to do.  Get lost in His love.  Plan for eternity with Him, but live each day as if it were your last.  Some day it will be.  And in His presence, you will be lost in that eternal dream come true.

Be Careful What You Wish For

What is your definition of success?  Is it to have a great-paying job?  To make a difference in the lives of those around you?  To be respected? To have a solid marriage?  Ultimately, happiness seems to revolve around how we deal with money–not in money itself.  In Hebrews 13:5, Paul writes, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  

When we’re locked into the striving-for-money maze, there are many dark corners that lead nowhere good.  With God’s help, we can either go around the maze or find a more direct route through it.

Unfortunately, many get lost in the maze.  Based on what we see in movies or television or read in books or magazines (or online) or hear on the radio, it seems that many are focused on the rat race of climbing the financial ladder to some kind of ultimate success.  But if you actually follow the lives of those people in the news, you find that their successes–whether it be in the business world, the political arena, the entertainment industry, sports, or even religious professions–often end in heartache, pain, and suffering for themselves and their families.

By all means, strive to do your best in all things.  But make sure the things you’re doing give you satisfaction in and of themselves.  Doing something you hate because it makes you lots of money won’t make you happy.  So how do you discover what to do?  Ask God because He is [always] energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him.  (Philippians 2:13) God helps us to want to do the things that make both you and Him happy.  And while it may be nice to be rich, all God requires is that we be good stewards of what He provides.

A young man lives in a tiny, run-down cottage on the beach and he rows his boat out into the ocean  every day to fish, not only because he needs to eat, but because he feels peaceful on the water.  But more than that, he also wants to improve his life and that of his family, so he works hard at bringing in bigger and bigger catches.  With his earnings, he eventually buys a bigger boat so he can make his business even more profitable.  That leads to a third boat and then a fourth boat, and as the years pass and the business continues to grow, he eventually accumulates a whole fleet of boats.  By then, he’s rich and successful, with a big house and a thriving business, but the stress and pressure of running the company eventually take their toll.  He realizes that when he retires, what he really wants more than anything is to live in a tiny cottage on the beach, where he can fish all day in a rowboat…because he wants to feel the same sense of peace and satisfaction he experienced when he was young. (story told by Nicholas Sparks in The Longest Ride)

After years of going from having plenty to having a great need and visiting every place in between, Paul ultimately says, [For] I have learned to be ·satisfied [content] ·whatever the circumstances [or with whatever I have] (Philippians 4:11)  If you are right with God and can say the same thing as Paul, you can consider yourself a success because God surely does.