The Trouble With Life's Great Catches
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In his classic, "Old Man and the Sea," Ernest Hemingway tells about a weary old fisherman who, like most of his village, has had hard times most of his life. He's barely eking out a living, and he goes out one day and decides to travel farther than usual to fish. And to his amazement, he hooks the largest fish he's ever seen in his life - so big he can't possibly bring it into his boat. So he begins to tow his prize fish behind his boat, excited about what this catch could mean and how it may be the beginning of a wonderful turn of his fortunes. It's the dream catch of his life! But as he comes into the harbor and up to the dock, his joy turns back to an even greater despair than before. All the while that he's been towing his prize; the other creatures of the sea have been feeding on it. And all that's left of his dream is bones.
Maybe one reason that story has enduring interest is that it's a mirror of many of our lives. We pursue what we think will give us what we've needed. We catch it, but our great catches all too often turn out to be just carcasses in the end. They gave us hope for a while and then they let us down.
So we go back out, fishing for something else that will be our answer. And ultimately, our next catch disappoints us, too. The trail behind us from our days even as a teenager is littered with the pieces of things that were supposed to make us happy but ultimately didn't. I couldn't help but notice a comment made by Johnny Carson's biographer after that great entertainer's death. This man who was lauded as the best in his field, who made so many of us laugh so many times, who was a giant in television. Here's what his biographer said: "I can't say that Johnny was ever a truly happy man. I don't think he would ever say he was a happy man." He's not alone.
In a few, sledgehammer words, Jesus Christ exposed all our futile expeditions to find answers for our life; and the only place really worth looking for it. In Mark 8:36, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" You can catch everything this world has to offer - its acclaim, its wealth, its pleasures, its success - and lose the only thing that really matters, which is your soul. It's your soul that's always hungry for something you've never been able to find. And your soul is forever restless because you're away from the One you were made by; the One you were made for. In God's own words, "Your sins have separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:2).
We have tried to fill a God-sized hole with things and people that can't begin to take His place. If we live like this, we'll live without peace and without meaning. If we die like this, we'll spend eternity without God and His love. He didn't leave us separated from Him. He pursued us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to sacrifice His life for yours and mine; to take the rap for all our sin, that defiant self-rule of our lives.
So what gaining the whole world could never do, Jesus can do. He said, "He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35). That could be you, beginning today. Beginning the moment that you admit your need for His forgiveness, your readiness to turn the driver's seat over to Him, your complete trust in Jesus and Him alone as your only hope. It's quite simply the end of your search.
I've put some of that in a form where you can get at it at our website. It's YoursForLife.net. That's the website I'd invite you to check out at your earliest convenience today. Because there you will find what God says about how to be sure you belong to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. That's YoursForLife.net.
You've been so busy fishing for things that can't save or can't satisfy your soul. You've neglected your soul maybe, but not anymore. This is the day you can find Jesus and find what your soul has been looking for so long.