Looking for Life In All the Wrong Places

    April 01, 2017 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza

    A friend once told me a humorous true story of an incident that took place in the Statehouse in Boston. A new legislative aide was asked by his superiors to take something to the Gardner Auditorium. The aide dutifully got into his car and drove nearly 70 miles to the fair City of Gardner. Approximately one and one half hours later, he arrived in Gardner, looking for the Gardner Auditorium. His search became frantic, as he did not want to disappoint his superiors so early in his career. A trip to the Gardner City Hall confirmed his folly. There is no Gardner Auditorium in the City of Gardner. To the contrary, the Gardner Auditorium is in the Statehouse in Boston! All the aide had to do was walk to a different part of the very building he was in. As much as it seemed right to him, he would have never found the Gardner Auditorium in the City of Gardner. His 140 mile round trip was a colossal waste of time, although it did amuse his superiors for years.

                We are like the legislative aide. Without the guiding grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, we are looking for life in all the wrong places. Happiness and contentment continually elude us. Our good times are fleeting and our problems are foreboding. We seek temporary relief from the pain in our hearts through work, sports, sex and maybe even drugs and alcohol. But they, and so many other substitutes, do not satisfy our need for a relationship with God through Christ. Even great success leaves a gaping hole in the human heart. Few around these parts would question the great success of New England patriots quarterback Tom Brady. At the age of 30, he had already won three Super Bowls. His place among the best quarterbacks in football history is already secure. He is respected by Presidents and even the Pope. His multimillion dollar contract ensures that his needs and those of his wife and children will be met far beyond his death. In December of 2007, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft interviewed Brady. Some were surprised as Brady spoke candidly about his life and what he’s looking for. Steve Kroft appeared genuinely surprised to hear the young, famous and wealthy athlete sincerely admit: “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it's got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn't, this can't be what it's all cracked up to be.” Steve Kroft then asked him: “What's the answer?” “I wish I knew. I wish I knew,” said Brady. "I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find."

                Whatever be your background or your circumstances, Jesus said there is only one way to true life. Jesus and Jesus alone is the truth, the way and the life. No one comes to God the father but through Jesus Christ the Son. Most are blind to this fact but all are commanded, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:16-17). If there are any reading this who cannot see that true life is in only Jesus Christ, may the Spirit of God give them eyes to see.

                "Houston, we have a problem." Those were the words my dear wife greeted me with on a Monday morning last spring. Not only were we plagued with three frogs as we opened the swimming pool earlier this season, there was now a squirrel sitting in the skimmer basket, staring out at the pool. I felt as if we were losing the battle with the nature. Now only chemicals and an exterminator could help us fulfill the creation mandate recorded in Genesis 1:28 in which God,  after having created the world and everything in it, delegated to humanity the task of filling, subduing, and ruling over the earth.

                The furry creature was still alive, but he was not well. He could not see that there was only way out of the trouble he was in. He was blind to that fact. He saw that his journey was straight ahead into the pool water. Most squirrels would see it the same way. Given the fact that squirrels cannot swim, his future held certain destruction. Most squirrels would share the same destiny.

                The squirrel slid into the pool. Maybe eating nuts makes you nuts, I don't know. He tried desperately to help himself, but he could not. Then Help came and fished him out of his pool of destruction. A man rescued him with a pool net. Our furry friend went back to live in the wilderness.

                Jesus has rescued us from our pool of certain future destruction through fishers of men. There is one way to life. It is faith and trust in Jesus Christ. God invites you, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare." (Isaiah 55:1-2)  Come to Jesus for "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." (Proverbs 14:12) Let us stop looking for life in all the wrong places. Let us stop moving in the wrong direction. God's word still urges us while we are living. After that, there are no second chances. God says:

    “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
    though your sins are like scarlet,
        they shall be as white as snow;
    though they are red like crimson,
        they shall become like wool.
    If you are willing and obedient,
        you shall eat the good of the land;
    but if you refuse and rebel,
        you shall be eaten by the sword;
        for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 1:18-20

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