I have always loved the following modern day parable, in fact I’ve quoted it in job interviews. The author of this modern story is unknown, but it appears on almost every business, life coach, or business consultants blog on the internet at some point in time. Here’s a tidbit that most of them don’t mention.
King Solomon was the richest and wisest King who ever lived. He had unlimited resources and withheld no pleasure from himself (sinful or otherwise). He learned this lesson long ago.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.
An executive from America was standing at the pier of a Mexican village, taking a much needed vacation. It was his first in more than 10 years. He noticed a small boat with just one fisherman had docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The executive complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”
The executive then asked, “why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican replied, “I have enough to support my family for a little while.”
The executive then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”
The executive scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then?”
The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
“Millions.. Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Upon returning home the MBA sold his business and bought a small cabin in the woods where he lived out his days fishing and playing the guitar.
Living slowly, and requiring less, is far preferable to always trying to keep up with the Jones’.
I’ve tried both, although never from a standpoint of immense wealth.
Life is hard.
Relax, pray, downsize if you must and be content. Godliness with contentment is great gain.
by Chris Mills