by Rev. Christopher Lewis,
Nothing is Impossible Ministries
When I was a kid, I remember watching a cartoon called Yogi’s Ark Lark. In this series, Yogi Bear traveled around in an ark with a group of other cartoon characters looking for “the perfect place.” The theme song talked about how they were on their way to a perfect place where the skies were blue, the fields were green, the water sparkled and the air was clean. They wanted to get away from the problems they faced at home and find the place where there would be no problems and everything would be just right.
Their first stop was a peaceful spot in the ocean that turned out to be the back of a sleeping Moby Dick. Then they ended up at a place they thought was the beach but really ended up being the Sahara Desert. They found a beautiful oasis, however, which they decided really must be the perfect place, but then a construction vehicle showed up and started developing a new city. They took leave of that area.
They soon ended up in the Antarctic and settled down there until it ended up just like the oasis. Everywhere they went ended up having its problems too until, in the end, the younger animals came up with a decision that they shared with everyone else. Instead of going from place to place, they should go back home and begin cleaning up the messes that they were trying to get away from. The decision was met with unanimous approval, and they all headed back to begin making their own home into their own perfect place.
Now you many wonder why this cartoon stuck in my head after all these years, and I think the answer is that its story actually teaches an unforgettable lesson about humanity. Many of us waste years of our lives looking for the perfect place and actually missing out on the good in life as a result.
Here’s an example: Many people decide that they have to find the perfect church. As soon as somebody upsets them or something happens that they disagree with, they go to another church. Then it happens again, and they end up spending their lives as church-hoppers. Some even decide that the only way they can find a perfect church is if they start their own, so they try to set up a new church down the street from their old one and somehow convince themselves that they will CREATE the perfect church by splitting the old one. Of course, nothing that’s founded on division will last, and soon they will find this out the hard way when people start leaving “their” church for the next perfect place. But people keep doing it anyhow…
I remember hearing an old preacher say once, “If I ever found the perfect church it would stop being perfect as soon as I walked in.” So true.
Another example: Some people hop from relationship to relationship, hoping to find the perfect woman or the perfect man. As soon as things get difficult with one person, they leave and go find someone else. Then, of course, they carry their baggage from the previous relationship into the new one and simply repeat the same patterns over and over.
One more example: Some people go from job to job for the same reason. They’re looking for the perfect place. As soon as they have a fight with their boss or things get difficult with their coworkers, they become dissatisfied and begin looking for their next place of employment.
And the list of examples could go on and on…
The Apostle Paul laid down a great piece of wisdom in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 7 when he said, “each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him…Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.” (1 Corinthians 7:17, 20)
Does that mean we should never change jobs, churches or homes? Of course not! Karen and I lived in Scotland until last year, and now we are living in Mexico because we believe that is where God called us to be. Sometimes God specifically calls us to move on, and sometimes in life, opportunities arise for us to seek a promotion in life or to follow after our dreams. However, what I am saying is that if we go from situation to situation because we are looking for the perfect place, we will always end up being disappointed.
If you leave your church because you believe God has specifically called you to serve Him elsewhere, that’s great; but if you leave your church because there was somebody there you couldn’t get along with, I have bad news for you. There will be somebody just like that person at the next church.
If you leave your job because of a better opportunity, go for it! But if you go from job to job hoping that you will find the place where you will never have disagreements with your coworkers and your work atmosphere will always be perfect, forget it!
There is only one perfect place, and you’re not there yet. That perfect place will be the place where Jesus is King forever after He returns and establishes His eternal Kingdom.
In the meantime, we will never find the perfect place anywhere on this broken earth. The best we can do is make the best of our journey until that time comes, and do our best to bring a bit of God’s Kingdom into the place where we are. Begin to notice the good things in the world around you. There may be times when your current situation actually does become unbearable and you have to move on, but the majority of times when people move from place to place it is not because of something that is wrong in the people around them. It’s usually about what’s going on inside them.
We become restless and want to strike out to find that perfect place. That restlessness, I believe, is probably related to the inner longing for heaven that resides somewhere within us. As Augustine said in a prayer to God, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.” Only God can calm our restlessness. In the meantime, rather than spending our lives trying to escape the world we live in, I think its about time we started asking the question: “What can I do to make this world I’m in right now a better place?”