Bible Reading: Luke 6:1-28
Every time you turn on the television, or listen to a radio program, or read a magazine…there is someone telling you that their product will make your life better. We hear it continuously. And eventually, if we are not careful, we will begin to base our happiness on what we have. When that happens, what we have, has us. It controls us. Jesus tells us to never allow our happiness to be determined by the things of earth. But, to base our happiness on what God has promised us in Heaven. That doesn’t mean that the things of earth are of no value. But, it teaches us to have a proper perspective of their true value.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
All of my Grandkids love to fish. They are really good at it and even the littlest ones have caught fish. Sometimes they fish in lakes. Sometimes they fish in rivers. Sometimes they fish along the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes they go offshore in a boat and fish. Sometimes they fish in a hole drilled in the ice. They have fished in a lot of places and in a lot of ways. Grandma and I have many wonderful memories of fishing with them.
I was watching a television show the other day about fishing. Actually, it was a television show about how to survive if you were fishing way out in the ocean and got stranded. Maybe the engine on the boat broke down, or it ran out of gas. Then, the current caught your boat and began to move it away from land. Now, there you are, stranded out in the ocean. Did you remember to bring water to drink? If so, it was probably only enough for one day. That is a big problem. You don’t know how long it will be before you are rescued. It could be days…or more. You have to have water…to survive. You have to replace the water that your body loses…to survive.
Your body is made up of around 65% water. You lose water when you sweat, go to the bathroom, and even when you exhale. If it is extremely hot you can lose up to 1-1.5 liters of water through sweat per hour. If you lose too much water…you can die. Generally, you can only go without water for 3-4 days. Then, it becomes critical and your life is in danger.
But wait a minute…you’re in the ocean…and the ocean is made up of…you guessed it…water! You’re saved! Well no, actually you’re not. You see you can’t drink the water in the ocean because it is salt water and it is poisonous to your body. “Poisonous? But what about all of those fish down there? They look okay?” That’s because it is not poisonous to them. Your body cannot handle extra salt…but their bodies can. 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Seawater (water with salt in it) makes up 97.3 % of that water. If you are stranded off-shore in the ocean…then you are in seawater. So, even though you are surrounded by water…you’ve still got a problem.
Let me explain. When you drink a fluid (like water, or milk, or fruit juice) it is processed (the bad stuff is removed) by your kidneys. The water in your body contains 2% salt. Your kidneys can only remove the salt from a fluid that contains the same amount of salt, or less, as your body. So, your body can only remove 2% of the salt from the fluids you drink. If you drink a fluid that has more than 2% salt in it…your kidneys will only remove 2%. What happens to the rest? Well, like I said, it is poisonous. So, your kidneys find another way to get rid of the rest of the salt. They need to dilute the salt so that it can be filtered out of your body. To do this, your kidneys begin to use water stored in the cells of your body. They mix the water from your body with the salt water that you drank and then expel it when you go to the bathroom. But this is where the problem comes in. Your body needs to keep a healthy balance of 65% water. When your kidneys use the water in your body to process the salt water…that percentage goes down and you become dehydrated. When you become dehydrated your mouth feels dry and you become thirsty. So, by taking a drink of salt water to stop your thirst…you actually become more thirsty. If you continue to drink salt water…it will actually kill you. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m dying for a drink of water!” Well, if they drink salt water they will be saying, “I’m dying from a drink of water!” Actually, one small drink of salt water will not kill you. Believe me, I’ve swallowed my share of salt water when I have fallen while surfing, or skiing. However, as I have explained, instead of satisfying your thirst…salt water will actually make you more thirsty. Then, there is a good chance that you will take another drink…and another…and another…and that is when the salt water will kill you.
Think about this: That means that the very thing that your body thinks will satisfy it…is the very thing that will kill it.
It is interesting that we often find that there are Heavenly principles that are very much like earthly principles. In this case…
- the earthly principle is: the salt water that you think will give you life will wind up killing you; and,
- the Heavenly principle is: the things on earth that you think will bring you happiness will wind up disappointing you.
Jesus knew this and warned His disciples. To do so, He said it in a way that made them stop and think. Actually, I think it made the stop and say, “Whaaat? Say that, again.” Here is what He said: You are blessed when…
- you are poor
- you are hungry
- you cry
- you are hated by people.
Whaaat? Say that again. That’s what it means to be blessed? Well, then maybe it’s better to not be blessed. That’s not all that He said…but it got their attention, didn’t it? He went on to explain that you are blessed when…
- you are poor in the things of this world, but rich in the things of Heaven
- you are hungry because you have not been satisfied with the things of this world, but your hunger is satisfied by the things of Heaven
- you cry because you recognize the result of sin in this world, but you will laugh with joy because of the result of holiness in Heaven
- people hate you on earth because you stand firm in your faith and convictions, but you will receive God’s blessing for doing so when you get to Heaven.
So, what did He mean when He said those things? Well, each one of them said the same thing…just in a different way. Jesus was telling us to not be satisfied with the things that our world offers us that promise happiness, and meaning, and peace. They are like salt water…they appear to satisfy our thirst…but they never do. They only make us want more and more of the same thing…and you can never get enough, so you are never satisfied. So, you are blessed when you realize the true value of those things. When you realize their true value…you control them. When you don’t realize their true value…they control you. Don’t let them control your life. When they control your life…you’ll never be satisfied. But, when you control them…then you will be satisfied. You will realize that they are only temporary and that the things that have the greatest value are eternal and are in Heaven. So, don’t get too attached to the things on earth. You are blessed when the things that you value…that make you happy, and give your life meaning and peace…are the things of Heaven, eternal things. Those are the things that truly bless us.
To put a little turn on a phrase: Don’t drink the water. At least, not the salt water. Don’t let the things of this world control your life. They are here for our use and benefit. But be careful. When you just can’t seem to get enough of them…and you have to have another drink in order to be happy…they are in control of you. Keep your eyes on Heaven. There is no comparison between the value of the things on earth and the things in Heaven.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,