Ask yourself this simple question: “Am I fulfilled?” It is a great question for the followers of Jesus to ask themselves. We live in a culture that is pushing us to be unfulfilled. We are being told that we are incomplete with (you fill in the blank.) We often tell ourselves that we would be fulfilled if we had _________. The problem with the pursuit of these things that promise fulfillment is that they actually deliver just the opposite.
I have wanted to do a sermon series on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. I have been reminded of that desire each time I have covered it in my Bible reading over the years. I am looking forward to unpacking God’s truth from this portion of Scripture over the next several weeks. But I wanted to wet your appetite to discover fulfillment from adopting a God honoring perspective. Let me focus on two highlights from my preliminary studies.
The first is our lives our short! Solomon uses a word that in most modern translations is translated as “vanity” as in “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) The Hebrew word used actually can be translated as a “vapor.” The New Testament reminds us of Solomon’s words, “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.” (James 1:11) The simple truth is “Life is Short” so I could add why not enjoy each day? One source in my study suggested one of the messages of Ecclesiastes is to enjoy the gifts that God gives us each day. How often do we miss the blessings of the situations, the people and even the circumstances because we have the wrong perspective?
The second highlight is that life finds it true meaning in our relationship with God. The phrase “under the sun” communicates a perspective that leaves God out. Portions of Ecclesiastes remind us of the dark meaningless aspect of life without God. Life goes on with or without you. You really don’t matter nor do the things that you do. This is reflected in, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) This is a truth that becomes clearer as we age. If this mortal existence is all that there is, our lives are very insignificant. Thankfully that is not true for the follower of Jesus. Our lives here have meaning, significance and purpose. And it is our relationship with God that allows us to enjoy each day. When our focus is right we are able to see God’s hand in even the most difficult situations. This means we are able to appreciate those small gifts like time, health, financial blessings, and relationships amongst many others that God gives us in some measure each day.
So how did you answer the question, “Am I fulfilled?” If you are lacking in this area, first let me encourage you to invest in your relationship with Jesus. Second begin to embrace those small gifts from God in each day. You will be surprised how the right focus will change your perspective!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson