Do you remember the old Wendy’s commercial when the elderly women opens the hamburger bun and says, “Where’s the beef?” Many people feel that way about life. They find themselves sandwiched between birth and death, and, unfortunately, they often find themselves in a sandwich without substance, a sandwich with no meat. A life with no meaning.
Striving for the meaning in life can be frustrating. Often leading people to give in to many temptations in hopes of bringing some type of satisfaction. Solomon experienced those same frustrations. As a matter of fact the whole book of Ecclesiastes is dedicated to exploring the difference between life and mere existence. God chose Solomon to write this important book. Looking back in his life Solomon was asking, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?”
Those may be questions that you have asked yourself and struggle to find an answer because you don’t understand there are 2 different types of life: The Bible describes life under the sun and life in the Son. I would like for us to contrast these two ways of living, and see which one is worth living, which one brings joy, peace, and purpose.
I. Life under the sun
Solomon lived the life under the sun to its fullest extent, He had everything; went anywhere; did anything he wanted to do. In Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:11. He was looking for peace and purpose in life, he had tried everything under the sun but nothing could satisfy. He poured himself into science, philosophy, humor, drinking, architecture, gardening, he enjoyed his wealth, music, physical pleasure and the list could go on.
But he discovered that neither wisdom, work, wine, women, nor wealth could satisfy the emptiness that he was feeling inside. He found himself saying “Vanity of vanities all is vanity” – all is meaningless.
Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you feel that way right now, maybe you are searching for some type of happiness and you too are trying
everything under the sun. They do not bring joy, peace, purpose, they do not satisfy! But there is a relationship which makes life complete. Without that relationship, there is a void, a vacuum in life. Many people, even those who are rich & well-known, can attest to that void. For example,
H.G. Wells said at age 61: “I have no peace. All life is at the end of the tether.”
The poet Byron said, “My days are in yellow leaf, the flowers and fruits of life are gone, the worm and the canker, and the grief are mine alone.”
Thoreau said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.”
A cartoonist named Ralph Barton left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: “I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day.”
After attempting to fill the void in his own life, Solomon said, “Therefore I hated life.”
Many people that live “life under the sun,” feel the same way, they feel hopeless, helpless, and ready to give up. You would think men like Solomon would be full of joy. Solomon had everything in this world his heart could desire. But he was miserable!
But still people, “If I only had this, could do that, or go there.” We are like kids and toys. Have you noticed how children want toys, especially when they see a tv commercial about the latest cool toy? Or when you accidentally walk by the toy section at the store and they feel like they are going to die if they don’t get that toy they just saw. Tears and tantrums ensue, yet they survive to live another day. We too are like that. It’s not toys we crave, but carve we do. Expreciences, places, relationships and more become our go to to fill our lives.
Ernest Hemingway, said this about his life: “I live in a vacuum that is as lonely as a radio tube when the batteries are dead, and there is no current to plug into.” Hemingway lived his life in a way that would be the envy of any person who has bought in to the values of this world. But on a Sunday morning in Idaho, he shot himself in the head. “Vanity of Vanities all is vanity.” Life under the sun never satisfies the desires of our heart.
II. Life in the Son
1 John 5:11-12, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
In Christ we have eternal life, 1 John 2:16-17 “for all that is of the world, the lust of the flesh the lust of the eye, the pride of life is not of the Father but
of the world, and the world will pass away with the lusts thereof, but he that does the will of God will abide forever.” We could read verse after verse that makes that same promise.
But life in the Son is so much more than just quantity it is also a life of quality.
John 14:14 “I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” We don’t have to live lives of “QUIET DESPERATION”. We can have an abundant life in Christ. And that cannot be fully described. It is a life filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. In Christ we have a peace that passes all understanding. We have a hope that goes beyond our daily circumstances.
Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The world cannot understand that but Paul’s whole life was given over to serving Christ. His priority was not prosperity, position, power, pleasure or popularity, but to know and serve the Lord. And in Christ he found true peace.
And we ought to feel the same way because in Christ we have a purpose, Act 17:28 “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” – Imagine for a moment that you’re building a house. You hire an architect and a contractor, buy all the materials, build the walls, hang the windows, run the electrical wire, etc but you nor the contractor ever consult the architects plans. The house will never be what it was intended to be.
The same can be said of life. How can we try to build upon our life without first consulting the great architect of life? Christ, our creator, has given us purpose for life and we must consult His plans for our life.
Rick Warren in his book “The Purpose Driven Life,” states, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.”
When we seek our own plans & purpose we find ourselves in misery. Kenneth Boa, “Our calling and purpose as followers of Christ is to love God completely, to love self correctly, and to love others compassionately.”
When we fail to live our life according to His purpose then our life becomes insignificant! Consequently we experience that same void that so many others have experienced.
A rich man was determined to give his mother a birthday present that would outshine all others. He read of a bird that had a vocabulary of 4000
words, could speak in numerous languages and sing 3 operatic arias. He immediately bought the bird for $50,000 and had it delivered to his mother. The next day he phoned to see if she had received the bird. “What did you think of the bird?” he asked. She replied, “It was delicious.”
Christ has given us something wonderful, blessed us beyond measure, and He has called us to be a blessing. I hope you won’t waste what God has given you. Fulfill your God given purpose.
Finally, look back to Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – What type of life are you living? I’m not asking if you believe in Christ for it is well known that many who confess Christ are not living in Christ. Are you?
Psalm 113:3 ESV
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!
As I was getting ready to end my day at work, I saw the most amazing colors in the sky. Upon seeing this grand display of colors, I was unable to stop myself from praising the Lord.
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