I got married last Saturday. If that weren’t enough, I turned 24 last Wednesday. Talk about good times, my now-wife and I had an incredible day with family and friends and then we spent my birthday on our honeymoon in Asheville, NC. Being together every second for the last several days has helped us enter each others’ worlds. I’ve learned more about her love for art and music and she’s been introduced to one of my greatest loves -- movies.
One of my favorite movies, Die Hard, aired this week. As it played in the background while we got ready to go out one evening, one of the lines struck me. It’s when the film’s villain enters the office of the corporate tycoon he intends to rob. He sees several models of upcoming building projects in Indonesia and quotes the Greek historian who said, “Alexander saw the breadth of his domain and he wept. For there were no more worlds to conquer.”
I’ve watched that movie over and over, but this time I was concerned with the off-handed remark about Alexander. I’m no history buff, but I’d say he was a guy who was in a good spot, conquering the world and all. So why was he so upset? My bet is it had something to do with that voice inside all of us that always whispers, “More.” The world tells us that circumstance matters - get this grade, take this job, date this person - but we always want more. The grass is always greener...you know where.
There was a guy in the Bible who was winning the circumstance game, too. His name was Paul. Philippians 3:5-6 outlines his qualifications and a modern day comparison could go a little something like this... Paul graduated with high honors from Yale School of Law with the persuasive expertise of a MLK, Jr. His influence was as adaptable as a charismatic, bilingual, multicultural leader. All sprouting from a family tree that leaves England’s Royal family in its shadow. Basically, Paul’s resume was off the charts and he knew it. In many people’s eyes, he’d reached the top. He’d conquered the world.
But unlike Alexander, he didn’t reach the top, look around and weep because there was no more for him to gain. Instead, he considered his position in life - the status and prestige most would never have - and he threw it all away. What could possibly drive a man with everything to count it all as garbage; no green grass, no other side? Paul went on to say that the reason he forsook his circumstance was “because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus.” Being found in Jesus was of greater value to him than anything the world could offer or his effort could muster.
What’s all this have to do with us? Well, if he were here today Alexander would say, “You’re just like me; look for more!” And he’s right, we’re just like him. We want more because we were made for God. But Paul would offer, “You’re just like me, look to Jesus.” Paul didn’t look for more worlds to conquer, he looked to the one who conquered the world. You see, we were made to be filled with God’s fulness but our sinfulness keeps us from him. Jesus left his perfect and holy circumstance in heaven to conquer sin for us, that he might bring us to God. It all boils down to this: because we were made for God, Jesus is better than everything.
So, whether you’re on the top of the Dean’s list, on track for the perfect career, or ziplining through a mountain canopy in North Carolina on your honeymoon, circumstance always leaves us wanting more. But only Jesus is able to fill our deepest desires. Jesus is better.