By Pastor Glenn Pease
Mr. Danielson was one of the six men who sailed across the Pacific on a raft.
He wrote about it in the best selling book Kontiki.
While making this adventurous voyage he had a wonderful time on a balmy peaceful island in the Pacific.
When he returned to the U.S. he could not stand the inner tension and the fast pace of living, so he took his family and went back to that lovely island to live.
He had plenty of money from his book; the food was plentiful; the natives were friendly, and the weather was ideal.
There was nothing to worry about.
There was no taxes, no politics, no job, and not even a newspaper.
He stuck it out for a year on this island paradise, and then he headed for home.
He had failed to find peace by the method of escape from struggle and tension.
Nothing it more futile and doomed to failure than the constant attempt of men to find inner peace by means of external escape.
Every man belongs to his own private peace movement, for peace is a pearl of great price which all men long to possess.
Peace of mind and peace of soul books are top sellers, and this proves that people are searching for some formula for peace.
Men are seldom successful in their search, however, because they stress only the negative aspect of peace-that aspect that the world can sometimes give, which is freedom from war and worry.
The escape method is all they know.
Cowper expressed it well:
O for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade;
Where rumor of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more.
The goal here is absence of all bad news, but there is no mention of the presence of good news.
It is concerned only about the negative absence of the bad and not the positive presence of the good.
The problem with this goal is that it is an illusion.
It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and even when men come close to finding it, as Mr. Danielson found his paradise island, it gives no inner peace.
This is man's real need.
He needs an inner peace that is not dependent upon externals, but which gives assurance and security even in the midst of storm and turmoil.
It leads only to futility and frustration to hope that some change in circumstances and the environment will lead to the discovery of the pearl of inner peace.
External peace is a value and a blessing which the Bible also recognizes, but it is a beautiful apple which seldom lasts because of the worm of worry that rots it, and the storm of sin that knocks it to the ground.
External peace is dependent upon man, and man is not dependable.
For example, in June of 1502 England and Scotland made what they termed a perpetual peace.
Margaret, the daughter of Henry VII was betrothed to James IV. Man had by external manipulation arrived at a state of peace.
A few years later they were fighting the battle of Flodden Field.
Just one of the many cases of the kind of perpetual peace the world offers.
This is not to say that men should cease to strive for external peace, and cease to believe in finding ways to end all wars.
Ideals are important, but we must be realists, and recognize that even at best man will not be able to eliminate the causes for war in this world, and even if he could, it would not bring the peace of heart, mind, and soul that he needs.
The peace of Christ is different from the peace of the world.
"Not as the world gives, give I unto you," said Jesus.
He left the gifted peace that is His own.
The peace which He demonstrated in His own life.
Jesus never found a secluded peaceful island.
He was in the midst of turmoil in a degree that surpasses anything modern life can throw at us.
He had continual intrusions upon His privacy.
He could rarely be alone, and yet He was not irritated by it.
There was a constant drain on His resources.
He got tired, but we never read of His rejecting anyone's request for help because He was exhausted.
He was criticized and misunderstood, and even hated.
He was disappointed by His disciples often.
He bore a crushing load of tensions, yet He never lost His temper.
His peace stands out in contrast to the irritations of His disciples.
They were ready to call down fire from heaven on those who frustrated them, but Jesus forbid them.
They were ready to get rid of the children who were a nuisance, but the Master said let them come unto Me.
They said send the crowd away, but Jesus said they are hungry, and He fed them.
Peter whipped out his sword and began swinging in the garden; the others fled in fear, but Jesus calmly healed the injury Peter caused, and met his captures with such fearless courage the soldiers fell back, even though he was unarmed.
This is the kind of peace that Jesus had, and which He left as His legacy to His disciples.
This inner tranquility in the face of struggle and trial is the peace that passes all understanding.
This is the perpetual peace that man so desperately searches for.
Escape from the storm is an illusion, but peace in the midst of the storm is a reality that is possible for believers.
The relatives were assembled to hear the last will and testament of a man who had very little in the way of earthly goods.
They all wondered why they were summoned.
The will was read: "To my brother Alex I leave my sense of humor, in as much as he has never cracked a smile in his life.
To my cousin Sarah I leave my optimism to mitigate her habitual gloomy and pessimistic view of everything.
To my nephew Richard I leave my standard of values, in the hope that it may help him to learn that a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
And so it went-a legacy of no cash value, but of spiritual qualities of surpassing worth.
This is the kind of legacy Christ left His disciples.
Not a quantity of cash, but a quality of character.
Jesus gave them the gift of His peace which was worth a fortune.
Francis de Sales said, "Peace is better than a fortune."
The only physical possession Jesus had of any worth was His beautiful robe, and the soldiers gambled for that.
Yet a king certainly could not die without leaving some value, worthy of royalty, to His subjects.
Jesus, the King of Kings, whose kingdom is not of this world left the value of values that is also not of this world.
He left the gift of inner peace-His peace.
This gift made the church by inheritance the richest group of people on earth.
Nobody has ever been more richly endowed.
The disciples did not horde this inheritance.
They invested it in a ministry of world wide distribution.
Rome had conquered the world, and had suppressed all rebellion.
External peace was available.
It was called Pax Romana-the peace of Rome.
Yet men were lost, and in darkness and despair, for all their external peace did not give inner peace.
When the Christians demonstrated by their lives and their courage that they possessed this inner peace, people flocked into the church to partake of this great inheritance from Christ.
With in infinite supply of the peace of Christ, there was no limit to the expansive potential of the church.
It had what no other philosophy or religion had.
It alone could give men assurance of peace with God by faith in Christ, and, therefore, inner peace.
The church later, however, cease to draw upon the resources of the Spirit, and cease to produce the fruit of the Spirit-love, joy, and peace being the first three.
It neglected its great inheritance, and began to depend upon external resources for its power.
It became like the world, and sought to bring in the kingdom of God by force, and by changing external circumstances.
The result has been that to this day many Christians are ignorant of their inheritance.
They do not live like children of the King and followers of the Prince of Peace.
They live on the same level with the world, and are perpetual peace pursuers hoping that some external change in circumstances will at last bring them into a paradise of peace.
We do, of course, have the hope of one day experiencing perpetual external peace with all the circumstances ideal, and a perfect environment.
Hope, however, is not peace, and we do Christ and ourselves an injustice if we allow a future hope to cause us to neglect a present gift of peace.
Charles Mackay wrote,
War in men's eyes shall be
A monster of iniquity
In the good time coming.
Nations shall not quarrel then,
To prove which is the stronger;
Nor slaughter men for glory's sake;
Wait a little longer.