Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Find Yourself

A destination can be a place where we're going.  Bright lights and the fast lane, crashing waves on the coasts of Cali, tropical jungles near the equator--vacations, dreams, adventures, all of these have an overarching sense of excitement and adrenaline.

Or.....

A destination can be a place where we're being sent.  Discerning the difference between the two is often the quest that we are all subconsciously striving to discover. Will our destination reward us with accomplishment or joy? Will our destination allow us relaxation or nirvana?

We've heard over and over again that 'Joy is in the journey.'  We've heard over and over again that we need to take a step back from focusing on the end result and enjoying the way we get there.  In reality, however, we need to know if our destination a place that we're going or a place where we're being sent.

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

This message sounds confusing, doesn't it it?  To stop looking, searching, and losing only to start looking, searching, and losing all over again.  What in the world does this message mean?

The key to figuring out this message is found deep inside the question:  'Is my destination a place where I am going or being sent?'  Differentiating between the two takes a lot of pondering and internalizing.

A destination could be where we purchase a plane ticket and hotel room; or could be found on one of our Pinterest boards blanketed with sandy beaches or snowy mountains; or could be riding a board either on a wave or down a slope.  But are these the destinations we should really be searching for? Are these temporary, short-lived destinations where our focus should be? It's time for us to get off of the internet, search engines, and social media in our quest to find the ultimate destination. It's time for us to...
Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

The words of a world-wide famous rapper may get us closer to arriving to the answer: "You've got to lose yourself...  you've only got one shot, do not miss this chance...  this opportunity comes once in a lifetime."

You might be thinking,"How in the world do we lose ourselves?" or "Why in the world is it only once in a lifetime?"  To the wisest of people, it's the easiest question in the world! They have spent their life entertaining the quest of looking, searching, and losing. They've mastered the very meaning of losing yourself.  They don't own a nice car, they don't vacation every other week in the year, and they don't spoil their children with a personal debit card. Yet they travel 24/7 around the world, they hold massive conferences tuned into by millions, and they motivate every soul they come into contact with.  Who are these people? They are those who have lost themselves. They have absolutely mastered it and, because they are the best in their field, they have found the ultimate destination.

No need to fear: you are about to find out the secret to their success. Surprisingly, the secret has been known for millenia.  It's found in the best-selling book, which just happens to be the oldest book in the world. To unlock the secret, turn to the Bible. The best-kept secret is found in Matthew 16:25.  It reads as follows:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

This verse is taken from when the man named Jesus of Nazareth is speaking to twelve of his most avid followers.  They followed him, witnessing many miraculous events and awe-inspiring words of wisdom every day in every location that they were with him. This Jesus is renowned in the world's most popular religions as either a great teacher, an inspired prophet, or a Messiah. Even now, thousands of years after his death, he is still quoted by millions of preachers, teachers, and leaders for his wisdom-saturated words.

In this short verse, we find the answer to the riddle that has been repeated again and again:

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

Jesus acclaimed himself as the Son of God, the leader of God's forces for justice and mercy. The twelve men, the apostles, who followed him had received a divine witness that Jesus was the Christ that had been prophesied by the prophets of old. They earnestly gave heed to his words. When he spake to them yet again on this occasion, they gave strict attention to what he said.  Let's look again at the verse:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Simply put, whoever loses their life for the sake of Jesus Christ shall find it. To the rest of the world, it may take a bit of time to understand his saying. For myself I've finally understood what that remarkable man meant. And I've found myself! After 20 years of searching for my ultimate destination, I've discovered the location of my destination!

This destination wasn't just where I was going. Plane tickets, hotels rooms, and transport was a big part of it. The way I found the destination was because I was, quite literally, sent there. Here's a picture that shows where I was sent:


Looks exotic, right?  Complete with a chain-linked fence, tin shack, and limited yard space, this is where I found the ultimate destination.  If I had seen five years ago that this would be where I'd find myself, I honestly would have laughed out loud.

This little spot of ground is found in South Africa, where I've been serving as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I received a call by one of his designated representatives that I would embark on a full-time voluntary mission for the space of twenty four months.  After thousands of dollars spent, hundreds of miles traveled, and a few moments of rest, I arrived in this beautiful country.  To some, what is imagined in South Africa are giraffes, lions, and monkeys.  To others, what is found is poverty, corruption, and danger.  For myself, I have found the meaning of what Jesus Christ meant all those years ago.

I now know what is meant by the words:

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.
Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

All my life I was looking for where I could find myself. I was searching myself for what I desired to accomplish out of life.  Through that painful process, I lost a lot of valuable time that I could have spent in wiser pursuits. I lost my sense of direction in life. I lost what it meant to lose myself.

As I answered the call of Jesus Christ and embarked in his service, I didn't have all the answers. To be honest, I had no idea how the end results would appear as. But as I started looking for ways to serve others, as I searched for those who I could help in some way, I lost myself. I discovered that, in saving my life in an attempt to make the most out of it, I completely lost its meaning. Yet as I closed my eyes and stepped forward in faith, believing that I could make a difference, I found a greater purpose in life. I found souls that needed divine help. I found myself.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Stop looking for purpose. Stop searching for meaning. Stop losing hope. Start looking for ways to serve. Start searching for charity. Start losing yourself. You'll be surprised about how much you'll accomplish.

So, returning to the question 'Is my destination a place where I am going or being sent?'  Well, it's both!  If you wish for the ultimate destination, eternal life, your destination is a place where you're going.  But more importantly, it's where you're being sent and who is sending you. If the one sending you is Jesus Christ and you're are being sent for His sake, you'll find yourself and the ultimate destination.

Stop looking.  Stop searching.  Stop losing.

Start looking.  Start searching.  Start losing.

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