Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Your Life in Three Words

Imagine an older version of yourself, looking back the many years that have passed. You're trying to sum up your life in three words. You have two options:

1. Vanity of vanities

This was the phrase used by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:2 to sum up his existence apart from God. It's important to note that Solomon's life would be considered quite full by anyone's standards. Most people on the earth today are seeking some combination of wealth, pleasure, fame, and wisdom. Solomon had it all.

Wealth? Solomon had it. This article compares Solomon's wealth to that of Bill Gates. Solomon's yearly salary in gold would be worth close to a billion dollars today.

Pleasure? Solomon had it. First Kings 7 tells us all about his lavish house, which he took thirteen years to build in comparison to seven for the temple. Solomon also had a thousand wives (First Kings 11:3).

Fame? Solomon had it. News didn't travel as fast back then, but Solomon's fame spread all the way to Ethiopia, where the Queen of Sheba decided to make a special trip just to see the man for herself (First Kings 10).

Wisdom? Solomon had it. God promised to give him a wise and understanding heart like no one in the history of mankind, before and after him (First Kings 3:12). Most of the wise statements in the book of Proverbs came from Solomon.

However, Solomon's conclusion at the end of his life was that it was all pointless: there was nothing new under the sun; everything was vanity and chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:9, 14). Solomon realized that God had put eternity in his heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Nothing temporal could fill that void; only the eternal One, God Himself, could satisfy him.

It takes most people longer than this kid to realize there's nothing new under the sun.

Once Solomon found the eternal One, his life became the...

2. Song of songs

This is the title of the book directly following Ecclesiastes, also written by Solomon. This book is about a loving, personal, affectionate relationship between a king and his bride, which represents the loving, personal, affectionate relationship between God and man.

This relationship stems from man's enjoyment of God. Just like a woman enjoys her husband's presence, God intended that man would enjoy His presence. Psalm 16:11 says that in the presence of God is fullness of joy. Not temporary joy. Not limited joy. Fullness of joy.

In fact, as believers, we can enjoy not only God's presence but even God Himself, like the psalmist who wrote, "God my exceeding joy." (Psalm 43:4). This psalmist may have had other joys, but only God was his exceeding joy.

I sincerely hope that at the end of our lives, we won't have to say, "My life was vanity of vanities because I never found the eternal God." I hope we can say, "My life was song of songs because I enjoyed the eternal God."


Caitlin Barton said...

What a wonderful realization to have during your college years Leon. I hope many more in our age group could see this so that there life would be filled with the eternal things. Thanks for writing

Michael said...

A well written explanation of a critically important truth, and in this instance the picture is worth a million words! :-)

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