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Too Easily Pleased

posted Aug 29, 2014, 10:39 AM by Kelly Griffin   [ updated Aug 29, 2014, 10:47 AM ]
An American tourist took a tour of an ancient English castle. “How did you enjoy it?” asked the guide at the end. “It was great,” the girl replied, “but I was afraid I’d see a ghost in some of those dark passageways.” The guide replied, “Not to worry. I’ve never seen a ghost the whole time I’ve been here.” “How long is that?” the tourist asked. “Oh, about 300 years!”

All of which goes to show that things are not always as they seem. I suppose this is nowhere more true than when it comes to establishing life’s priorities. Most of us are driven to get fortune, fame, power or pleasure – or some combination thereof.

The results of a student survey taken recently at Duke’s School of Business affirm this observation. Students were asked what they want out of life. Sociologists Willimon and Naylor report: “With few exceptions, they wanted three things – money, power and things.... Their mandate to the faculty was, ‘Teach me how to be a moneymaking machine.’”

This would, of course, be a great philosophy if this life were all there is. But if it’s not, that would explain Jesus’ comment in Luke 9:25: “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"

His point is actually very clear. People last; things don’t. People are forever; things are for now. That’s why Jesus urges elsewhere that the priority must be eternal life, not “now” life.

What is eternal life? Jesus answers one way in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” In other words, to have all the things in the world and not have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ would make life a complete waste.

C. S. Lewis said it this way: “Indeed, if we consider 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.... We are far too easily pleased."

We’re like the little girl Dr. Stan Morris told about. She saw a pearl necklace one day and wanted it badly. There was no money for it, but she worked at chores around the neighborhood until she could buy them. She wore them everywhere except when taking a bath. In water they turned her skin green since they were not real. But otherwise, she wore them constantly.

One evening her father appeared bedroom doorway and asked, “Jamie, would you give me your pearls.” The little girl loved her daddy, but she began to cry and answered, “Oh, Daddy, I would give you anything else that you asked, but please don’t ask me for my pearls. Please let me keep them.” And so she did.

The scene played out again a couple of nights later with the same result. A week later, Dad came again and asked, “Jamie, would you give me your pearls?” Jamie had been thinking about this for days, and this time she answered with tears in her eyes, “Daddy, I love my pearls, but I love you more. Here are my pearls.” And she took them off and gave them to Dad as she hugged his neck.

With that, Dad reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small package. “Unwrap it,” he said to Jamie. She couldn’t believe what she found. Real pearls. Dad had replaced the fake ones for the real That’s just what the Lord wants to do for anyone who will exchange “now” reality for “eternal” reality.

Unfortunately, most of us are too easily pleased and settle for the fake.


Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton/Ault (www.eatoncc.org)

Published in The Tribune on August 23rd, 2014.
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