Covered: Proverbs 1-4, 16-18,31, 1 Kings 11-12
Not Covered: Prov. 5-15,19-30, 1 Kings 10, S.O.S. 1-8, 2 Chron. 1-8, Ecclesiastes
Scripture Memory: Separate From The World: 1 John 2:15-16, Romans 12:2
In pop culture, more and more celebrities are being exposed as struggling. It can be with drugs, body image, within marriage, or an assortment of mental health issues. Why is this, when they have fame, fortune, and seemingly endless opportunities? Within our own lives, we can easily blame our unhappiness on lack of money and opportunities. These people have everything we insist would make our lives easier, more fulfilling, and yet they seem more dysfunctional. No one who has ever achieved the level of status each person seeks is quoted or witnessed as having complete contentment.
The idea of contentment, having “made it” in life’s game, is hard to measure. The drive of humanity is to have “more,” and we often have the “when this” mentality. “When we achieve this” or “when we make this” or “when we get to this stage,” we will be happy. In a book that we skipped this week, Ecclesiastes, the author explores this attitude. He sought to achieve every aspect of success. He explored every avenue of pleasure and decided that all is meaningless.
The writer sought meaning. He embraced folly; he acquired, undertook, built, made and owned everything available to him in his time. He still claimed, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (2:11) He saw that wise men and fools alike experienced the same outcome- death. Working toward success did not change the course of life or bring any additional peace.
This seemingly pessimistic view can bring us to a place of desolation. If all is meaningless, then what pleasure is there in life? Will life ever be fulfilling? He concludes that all things should be done in moderation and not to excess. There is no way to predict the direction of life or how it will end. The conclusion is to seek wisdom, follow God’s commands and find fulfillment in Him alone. There is confusion when exploring the patterns of life. Good comes to the righteous and the unrighteous, there is no formula that dictates the rhythm life takes. Acknowledging all that we do not know and cannot fathom points us back to God.
Nothing we can accomplish or achieve will make our existence worthwhile. Our humanity innately limits our own gratification. That is our fate in life apart from God. As with all of the Old Testament books, Ecclesiastes leaves the reader with a sense of longing. True fulfillment and contentment can only come through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The narrative of Ecclesiastes draws upon the realities of life on Earth and the hopeless nature of the human condition. However, through Christ, we are able to seek and find contentment in a relationship with Him.
The hope we find in Christ transcends our circumstances. No matter our state of finances or relationships, it is through Him we are able to find a “hope that does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5). He is hope that is unchanging, transparent and ever-present. The need for meaning that we all search for, can be found in the climax of the cross and resolution of the resurrection. Through Him, we are able to serve as an act of worship and praise the One that “set eternity in our hearts.” In the eternal, we find significance and satisfaction for our hearts’ longing.
Use this week to examine where you are seeking to find contentment. Like the author, how can you shift your focus to find an eternal perspective?
Written by: Allyson Pitre
Photo Credit: freestocks.org