Have you ever wished you could buy whatever you wanted when you wanted? Or, have you wondered what it would be like to have the time and means to do whatever you liked whenever you wished? Would you travel, lounge by the pool, build that dream home, or research the cure for Alzheimer’s disease?
God granted King Solomon the wealth, wisdom, power, and opportunity to explore and experience a life we can only imagine. He explored science. Some believe he cataloged the healing power of many herbs. He amassed great wealth (gold, silver, jewels and spices), built a fleet of ships, and 1,400 chariots.
He built beautiful gardens and palaces. He was world famous, sought after for his brilliant wisdom and understanding. He collected exotic animals and women (700 wives and 300 concubines). He indulged in many sensual pleasures, including food and drink.
He sat on a throne of ivory overlaid in gold and he and his attendants were exquisitely dressed. Yet Ecclesiastes records Solomon’s sad commentary, “meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.” When Solomon indulged his every desire, he was left empty.
Does that sound depressing? Actually this offers great hope. If being able to have or do whatever you desire, whenever you wish, were the formula for happiness, not many of us would qualify. If renown, intelligence, achievements, beautiful things and people don’t satisfy, what does?
The apostle Paul, writing from prison, said he found the secret of contentment (Philippians 4:4, 11-13). He also looked back over his achievements and credentials and found them worthless, but for a very different reason: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ,” (see Philippians 3:7-11).
King Solomon, who lived in a palace and indulged his every whim, found life to be empty and burdensome. Paul, while living in prison and seeking to please Christ, found contentment and joy.
Jesus found satisfaction in doing His Father’s will—even when it meant missing meals (John 4:32-34). The servant who was faithful in handling his master’s possessions was invited into joy (Matthew 25:21).
We were created by God, for God. When we realize that we are not the owners but the stewards of God’s gifts, we’ve taken the first step into joy. Our time, talents, possessions, children, and relationships all belong to Him. When we seek to please Him in the management of His resources, we enter into joy. Even Solomon observed that happiness and satisfaction are gifts given by God to those who please Him (Ecclesiastes 2:26, 3:13)
Blaise Pascal wrote in his Penses, “There once was in man a true happiness of which now remains to him only the dark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.”
God has set eternity in our hearts (Eccles. 3:11). I think that includes a desire to know that our lives matter for more than this brief sojourn on earth. Knowing and pleasing God fills that void.
Finding joy and satisfaction is a paradox. When we seek our own pleasure and desires, we end up empty. When we seek to please our Maker, we are filled. Joy comes in knowing Christ moment by moment and day by day, and living to please Him.
Debbie W. Wilson
Prayer and Praises: Our daughter Ginny is in Geneva, Switzerland, for a year, please pray for her to connect with some vibrant believers. Please pray for those we see who’ve suffered losses to have strengthened spirits and to make wise choices. Please pray for The Harbor, a Sunday fellowship, we are spearheading for people who aren’t connected in a church body. It’s open to anyone. Call us if you’d like more information.
Something Special: The annual Lighthouse Christmas Home Tour will be December 6. The homes and homeowners are very special. Please pray for good weather, good attendance, and that it will again be a special Christmas experience. Tickets are $10 and the proceeds will help Lighthouse remain a beacon of hope for folks in rough or unclear waters. Call our office for information.