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July 4 -- "An Okay Life Isn't Enough"

Recently someone asked me, “If you had one wish, what would it be?”

Without much time to think about it, I said this, and I stick by my answer: “I wish people could see. I wish people could see how much more fulfilling their lives would be if they would follow Jesus.”

Often when I say something along that order, the first response from someone who doesn’t make the spiritual dimension of their life a priority replies, “My life is fine.” They’re trying to convey to me that their lives are “okay” and they’re okay with it being that way. But that only makes me feel worse, because I know there could be so much more joy and depth of meaning to their lives. It makes me sad when people are “okay” with what they have and how they are living.

In his famous sermon, The Weight to Glory, C.S. Lewis, put it this way: “We are far too easily pleased ... If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Max Lucado saw this “content with too little” in his own daughter’s life. Happily, down the line, she came to receive the “better.” Here is the story he shared: “My six-year-old Susie’s most treasured possession was a string of pearls. The fact that they were fake didn’t bother her. She wore them everywhere and played with them every day. She loved the pearls. She also loved her father. His business often took him away for days at a time. The first day home would always be one of celebration. As an adult Susie can still remember the time he spent a week in the Orient. When he finally returned, the daddy and daughter placed all afternoon. As he put her to bed, he asked this question: “Do you love me?”

“Yes, Daddy. I love you more than anything.”

“More than anything?”

More than anything.”

He paused for a moment. “More than the pearls? Would you give me your pearls?”

“Oh, Daddy,” she replied. “I couldn’t do that. I love my pearls.”

“I understand,” he told her and kissed her good-night.

As she fell asleep, she thought about his request. When she awoke, she thought about it some more. It was on her mind the rest of the day. That evening she came up to her father with her pearls in hand. “Daddy, I love you more than these. Here, you take them.”

“I’m so glad to hear that,” he said, standing and opening his attache case,. “I brought you a gift.”

She opened the small flat box and gasped. Pearls. Genuine pearls.

What does the Lord want for you? He wants the very best for you. He doesn’t want you content with okay love – he wants you to live in and experience love at its deepest level. He doesn’t want you to be okay with your life – he wants you to have an extravagant existence. He doesn’t want you to come to the end of your life saying it was “okay” – he wants you to shout out, “What a ride!” while knowing the best is yet to come!

When people tell me they’re lives are “okay,” it makes me sad. I think it makes our Lord cry. So, I beg of you, strive for more! Move deeper. Feed your soul. Desire the greater things. Live for the essential. Receive and give love at the deepest level.

Okay isn’t extravagant and that’s the life Jesus want for you.

~ Pastor Dan

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