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A story is told of the businessman who was on vacation in a small lakeside village, when a small boat came ashore and he saw the fisherman pull out several large fish. Impressed, he asked how long it had taken to catch them, to which the fisherman replied, “Just a little while.”
“Then why didn’t you stay longer and catch more?” The fisherman replied, “This is enough to feed my whole family.” “Then what do you do the rest of the day?” The fisherman smiled and replied, “Well, I have a late breakfast and then I play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and come evening, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the evening.”
The businessman felt sorry for the fisherman and wanted to help. “I have an MBA in business and I can help you succeed. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and catch as many fish as possible. When you’ve saved enough money, buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford our own fleet. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you’ll sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own plant. You’ll control the product, processing, and distribution. By then, you’ll have moved out of this village to the big city, where you can set up your HQ and manage your operations.”
The fisherman seemed intrigued; “and then what?” The businessman laughed heartily, “after about 15-20 years, you’ll go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange. You’ll be rich!”
The fisherman listening carefully asked, “and then what?” The businessman continued; “Afterwards, you can finally retire, move to a small coastal village. Life will be sweet because you’ll be able to enjoy fishing, play with your kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and in the evening, you would join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, and sing and dance throughout the evening!” The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
Our little apocryphal story teaches us that as abolitionist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Wealth is not an end of life but an instrument of life”. The words of an old song put it well, “It can buy you roses, but money can’t buy you love.” It can buy you a beautiful mattress but money can’t buy you sleep. It can buy you a vacation but money can’t buy you rest. It can help you afford the best education for your kids but money can’t make them succeed in life.”
Now, I’ve nothing against money. That’s not my point. Just a caution this week though that as you chase it, you don’t neglect and end up destroying the very things that you are chasing it for.
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Pastor M is the senior pastor at Mavuno Church.
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