Thursday mornings, in Community Bible Study, we are examining the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Recently, we came to the familiar invitation from God in chapter 55.1-2: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! . . . Why spend your money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”
The idea is that true contentment, satisfaction, and salvation are offered freely to those who acknowledge their spiritual hunger and thirst. But too often, I find myself trying to “meet my needs” through my own efforts, position, reputation, or accumulation of assets and possessions.
This reminded me of a provocative anonymous story I read years ago, which I share with you:
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.
“But 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. “
“And after that?” asked the Mexican.
“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 then 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 new enterprise.”
“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.
“Twenty, perhaps 25 years,” replied the American.
“And after that?”
“Afterwards? Well, my friend, 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!”
“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 a siesta with your wife ,and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”
The morals of the story? Find meaning and satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be content with who you are in Him and in what He has given you. Put your life in proper perspective. Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
Discover authentic and abundant life as you respond positively to God’s invitation in the rest of Isaiah 55.2: “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”