A Meaningful Life.
Solomon was a pleasure and a happiness seeker and he had the wealth to be able to pursue his dream through power, fame and pleasure. He bought into the philosophy that if a good thing brought pleasure and happiness then more of that good thing would bring more pleasure and happiness and give meaning to life. I am sure that most of us would question as to why this man wasn't happy as we view systematically his failure no matter what he tries to do to gain happiness. With each attempt at a potential source of happiness, he notices that time, circumstances and death trump his efforts.
Listen to the the opening of his chronicle; “these are the words of the teacher, King David's son, who ruled in Jerusalem. 'Everything is meaningless', says the teacher, 'completely meaningless.'”
Solomon targets things that pleasure seekers seek today to find happiness to find that the attaining of such does not bring happiness.
In verse 18 of chapter one he singles out intelligence...2:10-11, pleasure...2:14-16, wisdom...2:21-23, work...4:16-17, power...8:14, self-righteousness...9:11, talent...12:12, education none of which brings happiness.
Solomon, a man whom the Bible reports to be the wisest man to ever live, sums up his pleasure seeking endeavors that brought temporary happiness at the end of his book; “Fear God and keep His commandants, for this is man's all”, (Solomon 12:13)
There is a large contingent within the religious world teaching and preaching that people should fear (be afraid of) God and strive to keep His commandants or else God will pour out His wrath. All kinds of atrocities have been attributed to God as punishment for personal and/or corporate sins.... heart attacks...cancer....typhoons...hurricanes...tsunamis...even acts of terrorism such as the destruction of the twin towers has been attributed to the sin of a nation and the breaking of God's laws.
It is sad that such misinterpretation and misuse of the written word is so readily accepted by people by taking the context of the record out-of-context to present such a distorted view of God that goes directly against the picture that Jesus...the express image of God...gives to us.
The worldly view that the meaning of life is found in this life is accepted by most of the religious world even to a lot of people in the christian religions. This is borne out by the “bless this ministry with your money and God will send his blessings to you but, if you do not pay your tithes and offerings you are robbing God and you are under a curse.”
When Solomon stated. “fear God and keep His commandments,” he did not mean to be in terror of God. Rather he was saying that the meaning of life is not about being happy in the worldly sense. Life is about God and focusing on God brings meaning to life and if we are in Christ and Christ is in us we are content no matter our lot in life.
To fear God does not mean to be in terror of God, it means to be in total awe and respect of Him. In that reality we are in relationship with Him, trust Him and respond to His love for people by loving people the way He loves people.
We have a lot of people striving to keep God's commandments without understanding His love for them. They believe that God will only love them if the keep His commandants. They are bound by rules, regulations and religious duty. If they understood the awesomeness of God's love and grace, they would see his glory and goodness and rule keeping would lose its value as a means to maintain relationship with Him.
When we see God as Jesus reveals Him we will understand His preeminence, His love and grace, we discover the meaning of life.
Life makes more sense when we make it about God and people rather that ourselves and our happiness.
Now that is not to say that “stuff” is important-less, but it is not what is important in order to have a meaningful and happy life. Stuff is fine in its rightful place but, stuff will not outlast death our relationship with God and people will. God and His love will outlast death, He is the ultimate meaning for life in the here and now and for life hereafter.
Once God is the focal point...once he is the culmination of life and the apex of our living...everything else makes sense. Life will not be about our doing for Him, it will be about our living in Him and priorities will fall into place.
Lets heed the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened down with care and I will give you rest.
Let's make Jesus the focal point of our living to make life meaningful.