Solomon, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes is referred to as the wisest man on earth. Yet, if you know the complete story of King Solomon, he also did the dumbest thing in the world. Late in life, when wisdom generally soars, he broke God’s first and most important commandment–he worshiped other gods. What in our lives do we seek because we feel we deserve the pleasure, yet, it always brings pain? What is it that we worship?
If your goals are to satisfy only yourself–you will find yourself empty, seeking one thing after another–as Solomon did. If your goal is to serve God and others, you’ll experience a full life. I call it “The magical mystery tour”. Hard work, for the right reasons, to serve God, to care for and provide for your family, is not wrong at all. Do not translate this as “to work in ministry”…..we serve God in all things by living in His will. In fact, it is passed on and continues to grow in the hearts of those we love and know.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 (TNIV)
1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly–my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
It is important for us not to get so wrapped up in life that we seek the wrong things. The world tells us, “After all, you deserve it right.” We often convince ourselves, “I’ve have lived a long life and it’s been tough, right?”. Solomon, in his wisdom as well as his madness sees the truth….God’s truth…..these things are meaningless, folly…..what we should seek is that which brings fulfillment to our lives.
Ecclesiastes 12:9-10 9 (TNIV)
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
Jesus is the teacher…..His words are wise …His words are true. If we want true fulfillment in this life, We follow the teacher, Jesus. Does work give us ultimate satisfaction? Let’s look at what Solomon shares with us in Ecclesiastes 2:17, “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
I am very proud of my accomplishments; however, what I believe Solomon is sharing is that “in and of itself” my accomplishments have not fulfilled my every being. This is “healthy” pride. Being proud of doing right, being proud of your accomplishments in a humble way is different than the pride that is shown in a boastful and haughty attitude.
My personal accomplishments in a military career, 12 years in the corporate world and owning my own candle manufacturing company…..all provide a warm feeling in my heart, something to look back on. However, they don’t fulfill me with a daily spiritual satisfaction and enjoyment. It was just a bunch of work! These are good things, don’t get me wrong, however, it is not in them that I find ultimate fulfillment in life.
It is my marriage of 28, almost 29 years….daughters that have truly learned what it means to live in a healthy manner, my grandchildren, my relationships with others and ultimately my daily walk with Jesus that provides the ultimate fulfillment in life.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (TNIV)
12 “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil–this is the gift of God.”
What I believe that Solomon is saying here is that the ultimate fulfillment does not come from the work that we do. If we think it is, we’ll be, “chasing after the wind.” It comes from a relationship with God, indeed with Jesus. I am living that “Magical Mystery Tour”……..what about you?