By Brandon Lemons
This past Sunday, we learned about King Solomon’s epic quest for meaning. He had the money and time to devote himself fully to pursuing satisfaction and meaning in life, yet he came up empty. He experienced good things, but the satisfaction didn’t last. It was temporary. He called his efforts “a striving after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Just like it is impossible to grab the wind or to bottle it up, Solomon realized that in trying to find a lasting sense of meaning and satisfaction through materialism, popularity, and success, he was chasing something he could never catch. Only God can provide us with an ultimate, lasting sense of meaning and satisfaction.
A positive take-away point from Solomon’s quest for meaning is that the good things in life are still good. We can treat these good things as gifts from God to be enjoyed and shared. As Solomon said in 2:24-25, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Similarly, the apostle Paul said: “[God] richly provides us with everything to enjoy. [We] are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). We should enjoy the journey of life, recognizing that even though most of the blessings we experience on earth only provide us with a temporary, passing joy, we can still enjoy them. And ultimately, we can rest in Jesus to find contentment, which enables us to get off the wearying treadmill of needing more, newer, bigger, and better, and instead we can rest content in Him.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect on some questions based on Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26. As you reflect on these questions, you might find it helpful to write out your thoughts and responses. It’s important to take your time and be honest. Also, it would be good to talk with God about your responses.
What role do money, nice possessions, and/or success play in my sense of well-being and meaning in life?
Make a list of at least 25 blessings in your life. Thank God for these blessings, and ask Him to give you insight on how you can enjoy them and share them even more (without putting them on such a pedestal that they become an idol).
What is one practical step I can take to be more present in the moment in order to better enjoy a particular blessing in my life?
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Take a few moments to reflect on each phrase of this passage. How does this passage relate to my life?
If the topics and questions during the Ecclesiastes series are troubling for you, you’re not alone! We are diving into some difficult emotional and spiritual territory. In the upcoming weeks, we will continue to discover the meaning God has for our lives; however, if at any time you feel overwhelmed or depressed over these topics, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or another staff member.