What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
What a dreary verse huh? Ecclesiastes is kind of a “Debbie Downer” book. King Solomon is reflecting back on his life and all the things he thought would bring him joy and pleasure only to find them empty and meaningless. But the verses packed inside these twelve chapters are meant to help us, the readers, avoid the despair that he had experienced. The message of this book is; nothing apart from God has any meaning. But I want to imagine what this looks like for the Christian who does have Christ as part of their everyday life but still struggles with feeling of disillusionment.
Have you ever looked up to a person and thought, man if I could have that job I would be so happy. Guess what? In a surprising turn of events you get that job and find that while it’s okay, it didn’t live up to the hype you had made for it. Maybe it’s your church; if we could just reach this attendance number, teach this series, hire this new pastor. If only our church was like that one, then things would be better. Maybe it’s your job; if I could have a higher salary, work better hours, get that promotion. Maybe for you it is possessions; that house, that new car or boat. Sound familiar? I think we all struggle with this. Once we achieve what we think looks to be our final goal we get there and it’s empty. Like the end of a rainbow; there’s no end in sight. Even Christians face this temptation. I know I have. While we dedicate things to God we still have this empty feeling of not living up. There’s got to be more than this.
I remember listening to an interview with Super Bowl champion Tom Brady where he states that after having won THREE Super Bowls people would think he had arrived but all he could think is, there has to be more than this; This guy who makes more money and has more fame than most of us will ever see. Sound familiar (King Solomon)? J
So what’s the cure??
I have found the answer to lie in the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:12. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” No matter what Paul faced, he found a way to be content. I think the days I am most happy aren’t when I get the most done or make the most money, but when I spend time soaking in my children, watching them play in the sand by the river or playing a game of cards; the days holding hands with my husband watching a sunset, that’s life. That’s contentment. Not matter what we face we need to be content and find joy in our here and now. Somebody once said, “Don’t wait for everything to be perfect to enjoy life.” I know this is a lesson I’m still learning. We have to stop the rapid pace we run chasing things that won’t ever measure up. At the end of it all, it boils down to loving God and loving people. I have to stop myself from chasing programs and focus on getting to know people. Sitting down face to face and connecting with them. I have to quit chasing my dreams of the perfect house and perfect wife and be present with my husband and kids in the here and now. I want to heed the advice Solomon offers in Ecclesiastes and take time to Love God and Love People.
Lord, help us to live in the here and now. While we want to be pursuing your goals and dreams we can’t forget to be content with where we are and enjoy the life you’ve given us. Help us to know the fine line of contentment and complacency. May our lives bring glory to you by first loving you and then loving people. Amen.