Chutes and Ladders
I remember playing the board game Chutes and Ladders as a kid…one of my favorites! But boy, it was a killer sometimes. You’re nearing the goal, the big “Blue Ribbon” of success; the taste of victory in your mouth. You’re thinking the next roll will be the ticket, but then “Oh no!” You hit a slide and are set back aways. You take a breath and aromor up. You say to yourself “I still have a chance, it will just take a few turns now.” The next move is small. You’re safe. But then, on your next move, boom! You hit the big slide that takes you back to the beginning, hope lost. “Why bother now?”
Amazing how a simple game can capture life so well. We strive, and strive, shooting for life’s blue ribbon, only to find ourselves disappointed, back at ground zero. Reminds me of the experiences of the writer of Ecclesiates. He pursues the “blue ribbon” of pleasure.
“I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. 2 So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” 3 After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.”
Ecclesiates 2:1-3 (NLT)
Disappointed, he set his sights on aquiring “stuff” and fame…
“I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. 7 I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. 8 I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
9 So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. 10 Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. 11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”
Ecclesiates 2:4-11 (NLT)
Disappointed again. His conclusion?
The world does not deliver.
Just as he thinks he will reach the goal, the “blue ribbon” of the day, he hits the slide and ends up at ground zero, hope lost. The good news for us is that throughout his “experimentation” he remains clear eyed, sharing his wisdom with us. He tells us:
“Don’t waste your time, I’ve already tried it and it doesn’t work.”
So helpful! Yet, for some silly reason we all want to try it for ourselves….our sin nature is so powerful!
He goes on to tell us what does work:
“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?
Ecclesiates 2:24-25 NLT)
Enjoy! We are not to mope around. Find satisfaction in your work! We are to work. Not to play all day, but to contribute, to be productive and at the end of the day, enjoy. He does not say “find the perfect job” (another blue ribbon.) No, he says “find satisfaction doing what you do.” ….whatever it may be. Sure, find work that you are suited for, but don’t put all your hopes in finding the perfect job that will fill you. The job will not deliver. Enjoyment and satisfaction come only from the hand of God.
Who can enjoy anything apart from God?
The writer instructs us to seek God first. Only then we can enjoy. Only then can we find satisfaction, meaning and be fruitful. I call this seeking “Intimacy” and it is only experienced when we periodically refresh your relationship with God. Doing the same ole, same ole won’t cut it. A stale relationship is like an old vine that produces little fruit.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus Christ in John 15:1-5 (NLT)
Apart form the Lord:
- you can do nothing.
- you experience no joy.
- you experience no satisfaction.
- you experience no fruitfulness.
Intimacy with the Lord is the big “Blue Ribbon” you are to seek.
How is your Intimacy with the Lord? How could you refresh it? Is it time to take a step that would bring you a greater sense of satisfaction, meaning and fruitfulness? The Mission Curve™ Process leads you into deeper intimacy with God, the source of wisdom and your ultimate guide into the Adventure God Made You For. Let’s talk.
Go to www.bobblackcoaching.com to schedule a free consultation.