Sunday, January 24, 2010

Under the Sun

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If only.

We like to think about it. We love to fantasize about it. We believe it will make all the difference in the world.

If only I could do whatever I wanted...
If only I was like him/her...
If only I were rich...

Then I would... be happy ; be a somebody;  have no worries; (insert your own).


Do you ever spend any time thinking about this stuff? Would any of those things really make a difference? Well, I think that it would make a big difference--for a while anyway, until the circle we’ve created starts spinning out of control, or (heaven forbid) gets boring. For as long as we live our lives “under the sun,”  none of it will ever really fulfill our deepest need.

How we love to enjoy ourselves! Slogans and sayings, such as “Just Do It, Live for Today, Take Care of #1, We’re here for a good time, not a long time,” are all reflective of a lifestyle lived under the sun.
What’s wrong with enjoying ourselves? Well--nothing really--everything in moderation. As long as we don’t expect it to make us completely and eternally happy!

Let’s see what Solomon says: “And WHATEVER my eyes desired I kept not from them. I withheld not my heart from ANY pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my portion and the reward for all my toil."

Whoa Solomon...there’s a whole lot of stuff in whatever and any.

This king spent his time enjoying many pleasures and doing great works (houses, vineyards, gardens, orchards), He had many, many servants, gold and riches (apparently silver was worth little in his days since he owned so much of it). He was a great king who was heralded for his wisdom.  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? If only we were like Solomon...right?

Solomon doesn’t stop there, but goes on to say: “and behold, all was emptiness and a striving after the wind, and there was no profit under the sun; what can the man do who succeeds the king? Nothing but what has been done already.”

So then what’s the point?  I’m sometimes flummoxed by the rich and famous. They seem to have everything they could possibly want. More wine, guilty pleasures and money than most, yet eventually all they end up with is emptiness. Why? They no longer derive any pleasure from it. Some need counseling and rehab just to get back to normal--all the while regretting the wasted years. Was it all meaningless in the end?

As we read on, Solomon becomes discouraged and asks “For what has a man left from all his labor and from the striving and vexation of his heart in which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are but pain and sorrow, and his work is a vexation and grief; his mind takes no rest even at night. This also is emptiness.”

Then he comes to a premature conclusion and states that there is nothing better for a man than that he should eat, drink and be merry (sound familiar?). And almost as an afterthought, "even though this is from the hand of God."

Hmmm--interesting! That's right, God does want us to enjoy our lives. I guess it got Solomon thinking...and the following verse is a gem--a bright, glimmering bolt of truth:

“For who can eat or who can have enjoyment any more than I can (Solomon, the man who had everything!)--apart from Him?

What’s Solomon saying?

It’s all futile without a hope in God!

And that’s where I’m going to end this post. Thanks for visiting my little corner of the world!

4 comments:

  1. Solomon, who had everything, yet sacrificed following His God and didn't end up very well. Yes indeed--it's futile without a hope in God!

    The sooner we can stop ourselves from riding that hamster wheel of "if only", the sooner we can stop making ourselves dizzy and focus our attention on where it should be placed.

    This is all very well said, Carmen. Thank you!

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  2. So very true, Carmen. That's what it came down to for Solomon. He had all that a man could ever want and it still was not living... nothing but God brought the satisfaction of life. So very, very true.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind words. I appreciate your visits.

    God is doing so much in so many. I am grateful for all He is doing in me.

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  3. A much-needed lesson in today's world!

    "In Him we live and move and have our being." In Him we find hope! I can't think of a better place to abide ... in Him!

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  4. Carmen,
    I think this is the challenge we all face, especially living in America. As a society we idolize the rich and famous, we strive for material comfort and we measure success by our possessions. More, more, more. It's so hard to live in the world, but not of the world.
    As Sue J. said, all the "if onlys" make us dizzy. Or as George Jetson said, "Jane, stop this crazy thing!"

    I pray I find my portion and identity in Jesus alone.

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I really appreciate your insights! Thanks for visiting!