Life is not just about you and earning wealth

This story is about a fisherman and a investment banker. It will teach you why you should do your best in your work while being content in your life.

An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. 

The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.

The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican fisherman replied he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats until eventually, you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”

Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

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 could make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could 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.”

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Reflection

When it comes to wealth, it is crucial to have the proper perspective.

Not having the right mindset on money can destroy you in many ways.

In the story, I believe both the fisherman and the banker have the wrong idea when it comes to money.

While being content in life is desirable and advisable, it should NOT simply be about contentment alone.

Our contentment should be coupled with godliness, which we can read in I Timothy 6:6:

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

If you are simply content in life, not seeing the need to do your best and just living a life in mediocrity, then that’s not what it means to be godly content.

The fisherman is simply thinking of their immediate needs.

Thus, once he achieved his daily quota, he would spend the rest of the day doing other things.

However, life is full of surprises.

You will never know when the storms of life come and you need to plan ahead.

Proverbs 27:12 tells us:

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself;

The simple pass on and are punished.

Foreseeing evil includes accepting that life is unpredictable and you need to prepare for it while you are able.

This includes being financially ready.

Moreover, it is not enough to live for yourself.

While your first priority would be able to feed your family, it is also a noble thing to consider helping others and being a blessing to them.

You can’t give something that you don’t have.

That’s why in Ecclesiastes 9:10 we read:

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

When you work hard, you earn more.

When you earn more, you have more to give to others and help those who are in need.

However, the fisherman doesn’t think this way.

Once he has enough, then it’s time for him to seek his own pleasure.

I’m not saying it is wrong to take a break and enjoy life.

What I’m saying is that the fisherman could have done more to be productive and make the most of his day.

Now, for the banker, he also has a problem he needs to address.

First of all, he believes that the pursuit of wealth is the ultimate goal in life.

Nothing can be farther from the truth.

No matter how successful you are in life, if you have lost your friends, family, and health in the process, your success will be in vain.

Most importantly, even if you are the most successful person in the world, but you don’t have God in your life, you are still a failure spiritually.

So, what am I saying here? What’s the whole point?

My point is this: you need to set your priorities right.

Make sure that you have a strong relationship with God first.

Matthew 6:33 tells us:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

From there, do your best in any job or task that you put your heart into but at the same time, don’t let material wealth be your ultimate goal. Instead, use it as a tool to further the work of God and help others.

When you do these things, you will have a much better and more blessed life.

You will soon see what it really means to be content with godliness and how God can bless others through you.

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