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Remember that famous song by Otis Redding, ‘Sitting on the dock of the bay’?  It is a song that has lived on for years.  With its debut in 1967, it’s hard to believe that so many of different ages know the song.  We can all picture sitting on the water’s edge reflecting on time.  For some this is a moment of joy as we look out at God’s wonderful and marvelous creation, yet for others it may be a time of self-evaluation.

As I was initially writing this, I was thinking about how it seems that heaven is a little closer when you’re by the water.  My thoughts were focused on enjoying God and marveling at creation, yet something propelled me further into investigation.  So, as I focused on the lyrics to this famous song, I was struck by the sadness and loneliness of the song.  Here I was thinking nothing but good thoughts, and yet as I listened to the original version of the song, it was quite the opposite.

It turns out that, ‘Sitting on the dock of the bay’, was realized after Otis Redding’s untimely death at the age of twenty-six.  He had been several huge hits and was at the top of his game, so to speak.  Otis had just returned from a European tour and was living in a houseboat in San Francisco Bay where he wrote his last song.

Otis was raised in Georgia and began by singing in his church choir.  But then, at the age of 15, he dropped out of school to help pay the bills after his father’s death.  He worked several odd and end jobs while following his passion for music.  And although he became a musical success, one must look at his life and his lyrics and wonder if he felt a sense of ease and satisfaction of life or if he realized there is much more to living.

I tend to believe it is a little bit of both.  We all have dreams and desires deep within us that we want to achieve and go after.  We have all pondered the meaning of life and wondered why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing.  And I am led to believe that Otis felt the same way.  Being raised in church and the son to a preacher, we know that Otis had roots formed in the Christian faith.  He had seen oppression, suffered the loss of his father to tuberculosis and done everything he could to help his mother and siblings survive financially.  Then a breakthrough happened and Otis’s life would never be the same.  No longer would he have to worry over money, clothes, housing or food.  Now Otis had everything he ever wanted in life, or did he?

If God were to give us everything we wanted, all the riches in the world, would we be satisfied?  If each of our dreams was fulfilled and we could be or have it all, would we find satisfaction?  Otis though not, as his other hit “Satisfaction” leans towards.  The famous words….’I can’t get no satisfaction, but I tried and I tried and I tried and I tried….I can’t get no…no, no no, hey, hey hey.’

So if our trying and trying and achieving and achieving and getting and getting doesn’t do it, what does?  While stuff and things and achievements can be very exciting for the moment, they are just that…..a moment.  And as we reflect on life and wonder what we should do, one doesn’t really have to look that hard.  God’s word tells us in Matthew 30, “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added onto you.”

God’s will for us is for us to be successful and to achieve all of our dreams.  But His word tells us one thing to do first….’Seek first the Kingdom of God’ and don’t worry.  Find peace in your life and be happy with life.  God promises us that He will take care of us as we put Him first.  The book of Peter tells us, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Otis Redding used his gift that God had given him.  He used it until the day of his death.  And I believe that he knew that all of the fame and success he achieved really meant little.  Satisfaction of life is found in one place and one place only.  And you too can have this satisfaction in the arms of Christ.  If you are reflecting and wondering what you should do and why things are the way they are, seek Him.  This is the place of peace and contentment.  With God first, life takes on a whole new meaning.

You can change your life.  You can make a difference in this life.  You can achieve all of your dreams.  You can live a life of greatness.  Quit waiting and wasting your time.  You will never regret giving your life over to God.  Perhaps you have stepped away and know that you need to make some changes or maybe you have never really made God a part of your life.  Well, now is the time.  Simply ask God into your heart and trust in Jesus’s sacrifice to take away all of your sins.  All of that garbage from our lives is gone in a second, drowned in the bay when we give our lives over to Jesus.

Please don’t wait until it is too late.  You never know what is going to happen.  I am sure that Otis Redding had no idea that the day he got into that plane would be the last flight he ever took.  But as his plane went down into the chilly waters, just three miles from the runway, I’m sure his mind was going in a multitude of directions.  Just before he boarded the plane, his friend James Brown warned Otis not to go.  But as we all know, he did board that plane and he is now with our Father in Heaven.

So as you contemplate life and meaning, make sure to enjoy each moment of time.  God has given you endless opportunities and promises to take care of you.  Your satisfaction will be complete in Christ.  Put your hope in Him and never be lonely again.

Blessings:  Heather Joyner

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