Every few days I pass the Lottery counter at the grocery store. People are patiently waiting to hand over their hard earned money (or someone else’s) for the hope of happiness and the dream of having it all. So what comes with “it all”?
There is a man who actually did have it all, super-wealth, world-wide fame, adoring women, intellectual notoriety, and unbridled power. There was nothing left in the world’s treasure chest to be obtained. Sounds like bliss and fulfillment right? Not exactly. The man was Solomon, and he was unique. The Bible says in I Kings 3:12, God gave him wisdom like no person had before, or would have after him. He’s famous for wise sayings in Proverbs, but his commentary on life is in Ecclesiastes. So what were his thoughts, after enjoying “it all”.
He begins with “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is Meaningless!” Then goes on to detail acquiring or experiencing all life could give, but ended up feeling the same as a fool who dies with nothing. He declares it all to be a “chasing after the wind”. It’s an interesting word picture…basically chasing something unpredictable, elusive, and ever-changing. The key question is, “How does this help us in daily life?” Well, he declares 4 basic problems all of us grapple with (1:1 – 2:23). Warren Wiesbe outlines them this way:
- The Monotony of Life
- The Vanity of Wisdom
- The Futility of Wealth
- The Certainty of Death
Let’s briefly consider the first one in this post; the monotony of life. He transitions with these words in chapter 2:
24 “There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand, 25 because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him?”– HCSB
So how do we “enjoy life” like he says? First, we must know Him as he says in verse 25. Who can enjoy life apart from Him? Knowing God through faith in Jesus is more than a good idea, it’s everything! It’s the starting point of seeing life from God’s perspective, and not our own. As followers of Christ, we’re to look for biblical precepts to guide our thinking. He advises us in chapter 3 to:
I. Embrace God’s Order
“For everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (3:1)
God’s creation has order and rhythms to it. Planting & harvesting, gaining & losing, speaking & listening, they all have their place. He made us a central part of the created order. Not as a celestial mystery like misguided mystics teach, but purposely made to know Him. A life focused on God, is one:
- Acknowledging His right to change things as He chooses
- Looking for and praying for His working
- Asking for His help in dealing with change
II. Be Content
Life is a gift (3:13) and not to be squandered. The old “stop and smell the roses” phrase fits, because life truly is fleeting. Verse 11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time”. If I’m not careful, I can speed right past a beautiful moment and completely miss the significance. One of my favorite parts of the day is morning coffee while the house is still asleep and quiet. I sit in our front room watching the morning begin and I listen. It’s amazing how a few moments of solitude with the Lord refreshes my soul, while He directs my thoughts to the daily blessings in front of me.
III. Look “Beyond the Sun”
At the beginning (Ch.1& 2) Solomon talks of things “under the sun”. Now he begins to move our attention beyond this life. Verse 15 of chapter 3 declares, “God requires an accounting”. He will open the books and see what’s there. What do we hope He finds? It’s not to see if I’m worthy of heaven, I’m not. Only Jesus’ sacrifice can justify me in that regard, but it’s measuring my obedience to Christ. Looking “beyond the sun” means fixing my eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12: 1-2), letting go of worldly trinkets, and pursuing goals with eternal value.
What are you doing today that has eternal significance?
Series: “What’s the Point of Life Anyway?” Lesson 1