I thought that people my age had everything figured out. After all, they were adults. But now that I have reached that enviable age, I know no one has it all figured out! And more and more I am coming to understand that life isn’t about figuring it out, it’s about living by faith alone. As I pondered on this, I looked back at some of the ideas I used to hold. Let’s ask ourselves:
Is life about being top dog? The brightest and the best? If it is, we are all set for failure. There are very few of these people, and those that appear to be on top can fall at any time! It’s very lonely there, and the pressure breaks many of them. So, life isn’t about being top dog, is it?
Is life about having control? Getting everything working just as you like it? Obviously, none of us have that much control over life. Just look at where we are! Things rarely work out exactly as we want without a high price. Living as a control-freak places us under undue pressure as well. We aren’t God. We can’t make everything work as we want. Other people live here too. It’s not all about us!
Is life about getting all you can? Living life to the fullest? That’s just greed and selfishness. It breeds discontent because we are continually on the search for another high or another adventure. Living life with such abandon has consequences. True happiness and fulfilment are found in contentment.
So, maybe life is about keeping a low profile? Living like a hermit. How are you liking isolation? It will hopefully work to slow down this virus, but it doesn’t work as a consistent lifestyle because no man is an island. We affect others by our life choices.
When it comes to what life is all about, we are better to ask the Giver of Life for a good definition. And I have found God doesn’t withhold here! He is very clear about the basis of life and the way to the happiness and security we seek.
Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes and the wisest man who ever lived, gives us the sum of it all when he says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Eccles 12:13
God never says we have to be top dog before He loves us. He never instructs us to seek to control life but to live by faith. He warns us about living in greed and selfishness and encourages us to use our lives for others. But my favourite explanation of the meaning and purpose of life is found three times in Ecclesiastes.
Eccles 2:24 says, “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that is was from the hand of God.”
Eccles 3:22 says, “Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion.”
And, Eccles 5:18, 19 reads, “Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion…this is the gift of God.”
All three of these verses teach us to value what God has given and to live happily therein.
It is said if we have three things, we are rich – food, clothing, and shelter. Most of us have them, don't we? Sadly, the consumer mindset means we are always shopping for more than what God has already given. To ask us to be content with what we have, and enjoy them without trying to strive for more, seems almost anti-Christian. Anti-productive. Unwise and lazy. We have swallowed the world’s philosophy here, I believe. We no longer see contentment as valuable.
Let’s ask ourselves a couple more questions. As the old folks sit on the porch in their rocking chairs, do you see them as lazy, motivation-less, and a waste of time? Or, do you see people who have lived a full life and learned the secret and happiness of contentment?
As we sit removed from our daily norm, it is the perfect opportunity for evaluation! With all our scurrying and striving, where has it taken us? What’s it all about?
Let’s not forget that God is the one who gives the increase. He is the one who provides and opens doors of opportunity. Life isn’t about what we create. It’s about what He gives. Let’s pause, take a breath, rejoice, be thankful, and Wash Your Hands!