My friends and I are big fans of Finding Bigfoot, the highly acclaimed TV series in which a team of four professional “Squatch Hunters” tries to track down the legendary Bigfoot. On this show that has become popular due to its ridiculousness, the team utilizes thousands of dollars worth of high-tech night vision equipment along with their natural squatch sense to track down “evidence” in hopes of someday proving the existence of Bigfoot.
On one particular episode, the team’s leader and founder of BRFO (Bigfoot Research Field Organization—naturally), Matt Moneymaker stated that he has spent the last 25 years of his life looking for this elusive (or much more likely, non-existent) creature.
At this point my friends and I erupted into laughter. “Wait…did he just say he’s spent the last 25 years looking for Bigfoot? Imagine putting that on a job application!”
25 years. Wow. That’s a long time to be looking for anything, let alone a mythical ape-like mammal. In disbelief I said to my friends, “Imagine how hilariously tragic it’s going to be when this guy stand before Jesus, and Jesus says, ‘So Matt, how did you spend the life I gave you?’ and Matt replies, ‘Uh…Well, I spent my youth, my money, my passion, my energy, and a total of 25 years of my life looking for Bigfoot.” Again, we burst into laughter.
But after a few minutes I was struck by a convicting thought: Is whatever I’m looking for any less ridiculous? When it comes down to it, is running after wealth, or popularity, or pleasure, or fame, or comfort, or success any less absurd than running after Bigfoot?
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
In other words, in an attempt to make our lives significant by becoming rich, or beautiful, or well-liked, we’re actually on an endless and meaningless search for something we will never find. I look at Matt Moneymaker and think ‘what a silly and ridiculous way to spend your life!’ but is not Jesus saying the very same thing to those of us pursuing anything other than Him and His Kingdom? Think of all the time, energy, and resources that Matt Moneymaker has expended to find a creature that probably doesn’t even exist! And yet, perhaps it will be just as embarrassing to tell Jesus about all the time, energy, and resources I expended on my search to find significance and worth apart from Him. Imagine your hopeful grin as you stand before Jesus with a nice car, or a pile of money, or a thousand facebook friends, or whatever else we might chase after and realizing that you missed the point—you wasted your life.
And here’s the thing about the show Finding Bigfoot: they never actually find him (a more appropriate title would be Looking For Bigfoot). According to Jesus, the same goes for looking to save your life—you’ll never actually do it. The only way to save your life is in losing it to the One who died to save it.
Businesses and other organizations create mission statements as a way of defining and illuminating just what it is they are running after. This statement clarifies what the group is and what it’s all about, and also holds the organization accountable for everything that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of the mission. Jesus helps define the mission statement for the people of God when he is asked about the greatest commandment. He says, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Ask yourself, son, Is this what I’m chasing after today?