Today’s Peanuts comic strip in the Dallas Morning News featured Linus, Charley Brown and Snoopy all laying down and propped up against a big tree. Linus, the philosopher, offers this question.
“If you work real hard and you get everything you’ve always wanted, it it worth it?”
Charley Brown looks thoughtful but Snoopy the pragmatist has an immediate reaction.
“Not if your dog doesn’t like you.”
Hard to argue with that. If your dog doesn’t like you there is a pretty good chance you are a miserable human being. Since I am widely known as a deep thinker I meditated on today’s Peanuts strip. Snoopy is certainly spot on in his analysis. But I would suggest the question impacts other relationships as well.
If your pursuit of possessions causes you to not have time to love your wife well then it is not worth it.
If you cannot spend quality time with friends and family it is not worth it.
If you cannot find time to love and serve others it is not worth it.
If you cannot find time to get to know God, receive His love and allow Him to love others through you it is not worth it.
I am not lecturing you as holier-than-thou guy. I am telling you with a sad heart that I have fallen short in all four of those categories as I pursued career and stuff. And I can tell you it was not worth it. Because of God’s grace, the love of an awesome wife, the patience of three incredible sons and the loyalty of dear friends I have learned what is really worth it. I wish I had a do over on a number of fronts. But I do not.
So here is what I can do. I can do all of those things above for the rest of my days. That is the next best thing to doing those things all of my life. The old Chinese proverb comes to mind here.
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is today.
Jesus had a few thoughts on this very subject.
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Perhaps difficult times will send us back to what matters. You may be like me and you have lost some money and security recently. I still have much to be thankful for despite the portfolio plunge. But here is what I have that cannot be taken away by economic crisis or cultural opposition. My relationship with my Lord and my love for my wife, family and friends. I am wealthy indeed. And, by the way, my dog adores me.