Imagine sitting across the table from a high-powered businessman. As you talk, his cell phone continues to ding and buzz. He’s well-dressed and obviously successful, but you can tell something is nagging him.
You ask about his home life, but his marriage and family seem to be going pretty well, no obvious cracks in that dam. You inquire about his church involvement. He tells you that he attends church every Sunday and enjoys it. He seems to be a good guy, faithful to his wife, moral, successful. He has everything a man could want.
“What could be bothering him?” you wonder.
An Honest Question
Just then he drops his guard and says, “The reason I asked to meet is because even though I go to church I don’t feel like I know Jesus in an authentic way. How can I have a real relationship with Jesus?”
This is not a question you hear every day. It’s honest and vulnerable. It’s one question successful businessmen are often scared to ask.
It echoes of Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler. He too was moral, religious, and wealthy. But similarly, he knew that was not enough. Something was missing.
The World Is Not Enough
My experience of working alongside patrons from around the world confirms one truth the world rarely preaches: wealth is not enough. I continue to hear things like this from people I deeply respect:
“Life is hard even when you have money. Money can be very evil and not because you're doing evil things with it. It just can get you into a state of not remembering that it's all God’s.”
Wealth can be a blessing from God, but it can also be a blinder to what matters most. Throughout the biblical book of Proverbs, we're repeatedly reminded that many things are greater than wealth. Here are twelve that I see in Scripture:
The Lord is more valuable than wealth (3:9). Wisdom and understanding are better than silver and gold (3:13-15). So are instruction and knowledge (8:10). Additionally, righteousness (10:4), salvation (11:4), blessing others (11:25), and giving to the poor (14:21) should be pursued more than wealth. Finally, a loving family (15:17), maintaining our integrity (19:1), and keeping an honorable reputation (22:1) are worth more than money.
It’s not bad to be rich, but being rich is a bad goal. Wealth is not enough. All it can offer you will leave you still hungry and thirsty for more. So here’s what I said to the businessman who asked me such a great question and what I would say to anyone asking a similar question today.
Invited To Thirst
“It sounds like you have a thirst to know God in a real way. And the good news is that nobody has a thirst for God unless God has given them that thirst. My friend, God is initiating something with you. He’s pursuing you. Your thirst for God means that God is after you.
Many of history’s greatest Christians have gone before you in this. George Whitefield, an 18th-Century British evangelist, earnestly wanted to know God, much like you. He fasted and prayed and tried to be disciplined to an extreme degree, but it didn't work. Then, one day as a twenty-one-year-old, he stumbled across these words of Jesus,
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” JOHN 7:37-38
Whitefield cried out to God, “I thirst, I thirst” and God answered his prayer. Whitefield wrote these words in his journal: “Oh what a wave of divine life did break in upon my poor soul. With what joy—joy unspeakable—even joy that was full of, and big with glory, was my soul filled.”
We see the same thing in King David’s life. David wrote in his journal to God,
“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’ ” PSALM 27:8
My friend, now is your time. God is seeking you and he’s inviting you into a real relationship with him through his son Jesus. God promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” JEREMIAH 29:13
We come to know Jesus in a moment, but we learn to know Jesus over a lifetime. Your job is to respond with fresh urgency to seek Jesus. He will meet you and when he does your heart will overflow with rivers of living water."