I love how the Lord speaks truth into my life. He may touch my heart through something on the radio, and then later in a Bible study. He weaves things together for my good. It is a blessing to see His handiwork. Many years ago, as a young student, I read The Old Man and the Sea. I chose it because it was a short read and was written by Ernest Hemingway. Occasionally, I think of the story, but God brought it to my remembrance a few weeks ago. Santiago is an aged fisherman who hasn’t caught anything in over eighty days. Finally, he catches a very large marlin. He struggles with it for days and finally kills it. He then ties the fish to the boat to take back to the docks. He intends to sell it for a great price. However, the long journey with a bleeding fish attracts many sharks. Though Santiago slays several, he cannot fight them all. The great marlin is but a skeleton when he reaches home. Sad, right?
Well, God connected this story to a Bible study we had in our home. We have a Bible study at our house every Monday night, and this particular Monday we were in Genesis 14. The back story is that Abram and Lot have taken separate lands in order to support their livestock and families. So there is no strife between them, Abram has allowed Lot to choose whichever land he wants, and Abram will take what Lot doesn’t. The catch is that the two choices of land couldn’t be more different. There is the Jordan Valley, which is quite lush, and Canaan, which is, well, a dessert. Lot chooses the best land for himself. However, this land is Sodom and Gomorrah. The King of Sodom and the King of Gomorrah along with three other kings go out to battle against four different kings. Lot is right in the middle. He is captured along with the goods and food of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram, then, is told what has happened, and he goes out with a very small army (318 men). However, they are well trained. He defeats the enemy kings and rescues Lot as well as everyone else.
You may be wondering by now what these two stories have to do with each other. Lot and Santiago are similar in at least one way. They put all there effort into one thing, but that one thing didn’t pay off. This often resembles our walk (or lack thereof) with Christ. Sometimes, we become so focused on the forest that we can’t see the trees. We run so hard and fast; chasing after things that will not last. We can quickly become engulfed in our job, our family, our hobbies, or even our religious responsibilities. We forget that Christ is above it all. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Ask Lot. The choices we make have lasting consequences. We must make them with godly wisdom; allowing Christ to govern every aspect of our lives. How sad to catch that huge marlin we’ve been after to only return to the docks with a skeleton.
When we place our contentment in Christ, we will never be disappointed. If we search for it in a spouse, a child, or a career, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. Matthew 6:33 may seem over used, but who can challenge its truth? It says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” I am afraid that we, well I know I do, forget about seeking “His righteousness.” I remember to seek God and that He will provide, but I can’t leave out the importance of striving to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:16). I can’t throw in the towel on perfection and start fishing for marlins. God has called me to more. He has called us all to more.
I pray that if you are camping in any land other than the perfect will of God that you will get up and move. Is it harder? Sure. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Don’t settle for cheap imitations. Jesus Christ is the only one who will truly satisfy the aching of your heart and soul. Be blessed!
“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19