Every time they lead, they eat breakfast together at a local home-cooking establishment called The Shack. Now, ownership at this restaurant changed and we knew the family who took over. Man, did that owner work hard…she still does! As we would watch her run the restaurant, train staff, take orders and fill coffee cups, I said, "it makes me think that sometimes livin' the dream ain't quite the same as chasin' it!"
We're pretty sure there's a country song in that sayin' somewhere…but isn't it the truth?
Another way to put it: I got what I asked for, not what I wanted!
I can't tell you how many times that saying has gone through my mind. We think we know what we want. We think we know what we're asking for…and then we get it and we say, "that's not what I wanted!"
A couple of examples, so you can relate:
It happens when a woman wants to have a baby, only to become pregnant and spend the next 3-6 months (or more) with her head 3 inches from a toilet seat! I asked to have a baby, but this isn't what I wanted!
It happens when a mom becomes a stay-at-home mom and is tethered to the house, keeping nap schedules and unable to shower or get out of pajamas for days! I asked to stay home but this isn't what I wanted!
It happens when a person buys their first home. The honeymoon is over the moment the first appliance quits working and bathroom falls through the ceiling (that actually happened to us!) or you can't afford the mortgage. I asked to own a home, but this isn't what I wanted!
Apparently this isn't just a problem we have today, because Jesus told a story about a young man who chased the dream, but when it came to living the dream…it wasn't what he wanted.
The Prodigal Son. A favorite parable for lots of people is found in Luke 15. The youngest son of a farmer asks for all of his inheritance before the father dies…yes, he's basically saying "dad, I wish you were dead. Give me my money and I'll get out of your hair!"
The father gives the son what he asked for; he gives the son his inheritance and the young man goes off to chase the dream! He parties, he lives a wild and reckless life; reckless with his own life and reckless with countless lives that cross his path.
But then one day, he wakes up from the dream and reality hits like pig slop in the face!
He is broke and homeless and he gets a job feeding pigs pig slop. As if that's not bad enough for this young man, he's so hungry, he wishes he could eat what the pigs are eating. I'm gonna take a big chance on this one, but I don't think this is what he wanted!
There's chasin' the dream and then there is living the dream.
In Matthew 20, Jesus is trying to teach the guys that are following him about greatness…basically a 'how -to' guide for living the dream. He starts by telling them a story about some "other people." Jesus ends that story with a puzzling phrase…"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
It must have been puzzling because the next thing you know, the mother of James and John asks Jesus if her sons can sit at his right and left side when he sets up his kingdom! Clearly, Jesus' point was missed!
Jesus tells her that she has no idea what she's asking for!
It's like Jesus is saying…"look, there's chasin' the dream and then there's livin' the dream." When it's time to live the dream, things could get rough around here." And they do get rough!
Jesus ends that little section by saying this, "just as the Son of Man (that's Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
The Prodigal son wanted to be served. James and John wanted to be served. Andria wants to be served.
Not Jesus. He came to serve. He came to give His life away for the sake of others. For the sake of you and me who can't quite get this whole serving thing and putting others before ourselves!
Whatever your life circumstances right now; whether you are living the dream, chasing the dream or you didn't get what you asked for or what you wanted…serve. Think about others more than you think about yourself.
Maybe, just maybe, that's the key to living the dream!
Point to Jesus. Serve others. No matter what. Live the dream!
How are you living the dream?