Have you ever searched for something? Of course you have. We have all searched for something we have lost or wanted to find. Have you searched for riches or fame or health or friends or glory? I think most of us have at some time in our lives. Have you sought for peace? Did you find it? Peace is hard to find in this world in chaos and in a rapidly increasing immoral slide. You may even get anxious about your search that seems to get harder and harder. So what do we do?
In the biblical book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” I don’t always rejoice when I am having trouble finding peace in my anxiety. I often forget to pray, which should be our first defense or offense. I often think about dark or difficult things or challenges in such times, not the good things. Here Paul suggests concentrating on the beautiful things we see in him or in Christ. Then the peace of God and the God of peace, who transcends our understanding with guard our hearts and minds and be with us. Now that is a wonderful promise and truth. So, what do you do instead? Do you seek after riches, with work, alcohol, drugs or friendships or something less satisfying? Have you found that worldly things are not satisfying? Have you found yet that even our friends fail us? So, what do we do?
Jesus tells many parables or stories with a spiritual or moral lesson. In my book, Hospital Parables: “Front-office to Bedside,” I tell parables of my own life experiences working in hospitals for over 45 years, first as a senior executive, now as a chaplain. All of my parables, but more importantly, all of Jesus’s parables point to God as the source of our peace and riches in Christ Jesus.
‘“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46). This parable points to selling everything to gain the kingdom of God or riches. The “Rich Young Ruler” in Matthew 19 could not sell all of his riches to “be perfect” as Jesus advised him when he asked how to gain eternal life or heaven. Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). Why can’t we be content with what we have? I think it is about our egos and selfishness.
We must put aside our quest for riches and come to a place where we can say as Paul did that he had learned the secret of being content. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…And my God shall supply all of my needs in His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:13,19). There is the answer, the only one that works. We will never be content this side of heaven without Jesus in our hearts as Savior and Lord. Have you made Him yours’ or are you still sifting through the sands and stuff of this world for something better?