“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self seeking and reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Romans 2:7,8 New International Version
There is an old, very old, story told of two boys.
A porter took the first boy to an enormous room filled with toys and gadgets, the best and newest technology, the most desired for boys of his age. He was instructed to do whatever he wanted, touch, try, play with anything he chose, then left on his own.
Then the porter took the second boy to an enormous room filled with horse muck. He was also instructed to do as he liked, then left on his own.
Two hours later, the porter came back to find the first boy waiting at the door with toys thrown into a huge mess, scowling and angry. “Everything in here is broken and worthless!” he shouted, then ran off to find his parents and go home.
The porter went to find the second boy in the muck-filled room. When he opened the door, he had to call the boy’s name. When the boy appeared, he was covered with muck and grinning from ear to ear. “I know there is a pony in here somewhere,” he said, “I just have to find him!”
I’ve written before about having attended Monterey Bay Academy (a co-educational boarding high school) for four years with a small break in my senior year after my mother died of cancer. I actually had senior pictures at Fresno Adventist Academy and at MBA. I’m not sure why it was so important to finish at MBA; I just know it was very important.
It might have been that Monterey Bay Academy was home. It was the place I had lived the longest in my life. It was where all my friends were, although that year is mostly a haze. Because our local church school only went as far as 10 grades, we sent both our daughters to MBA to finish high school. I didn’t really consider sending them anywhere else.
Often when other parents were considering sending their teens to MBA they would ask us what we thought of the school. Like any place where people are involved, both facts and rumors fly around about what happens there. Invariably someone would ask us to make a recommendation regarding the school and sending their child there. Rumors brought questions and concerns about the school’s reputation, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, grades, etc.
In response to these questions, my wife and I would tell the parents their students would find what they were looking for. In every school, no matter how carefully proactive, there will be some students who are into drugs and alcohol, some who are promiscuous. If their teen wanted to find good friends and get good grades, they would do so. Their teens would find what they were looking for.
I have found life nearly always comes down to this, you will find what you are looking for! While those words were useful as advice for parents about their teen’s possible life at MBA, they also apply to us and the life we pursue. I feel very certain we, too, discover what we are looking for in life, in church, in relationships, in every area of our lives.
So what are you looking for these days? And where are you looking for it? What is it that gives your life meaning? Interestingly, we even approach our relationship with God from the perspective of finding what we’re looking for. It seems to me this is even what we may be programed to search for, what we have been led to believe about God, about ourselves, about others.
It can be quite easy to pass off the choices of others as just their issue based on what they were looking for, what they expected to discover. However, we really aren’t that simple. Our lives are much more complex being formed by years of habits, family dynamics and histories, and experiences from several sources we may not even remember or consider important.
Our lives reflect the influences of all who have even the smallest impact on who we are and who we become. It is intriguing to discover the witness of someone who is able to recall their own personal, life changing moment, a moment that might have been missed if not for someone who intervened in their life, and in so doing led them to realize they could be more than they ever knew.
Maybe this is your story, a story that opens hearts to the reality of a God who gives more. He gives far more than we are looking for, because He is far more than we are looking to discover. Life has a way of beating us down as we go about the daily grind of living. Then we find time has rushed past leaving us wondering how we woke one morning to find we are a year older, and as for myself, still haven’t got a clue!
Each day offers a multitude of choices. Many will be based on what we are looking for, what we have learned, what seems right at the moment, and what happens “just because!”
Bottom line for me is always knowing God has promised He has plans. He has always had plans, even when I wasn’t interested in His plans. That’s what makes Grace an ever more appealing reality for me. God was always interested in me, had plans for me, never gave up on me, still doesn’t give up on me!
So do we get what we’re looking for? Certainly, but we don’t have to settle for that, ever! We can receive what God wants to give us. It’s one of the many things His Grace in our Process gives us and points us to seek, that which God sees. He wants to give us all He desires!
“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Matthew 6:33 The Voice
“But seek ([a] aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([b] His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [c] taken together will be given you besides.” Matthew 6:33 Amplified Bible