“4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.”
So King Solomon basically could do anything he wanted. He bought anything he wanted. Did anything he wanted. Experience anything he wanted to. He was not limited by funds. Whatever the world had to offer, he took it. So, how did that go for him?
“10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”
He said it was all vanity. The part where it says, “my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil,” that means that, “Oh hey that was great,” feeling was his ONLY REWARD. He had the world at his fingertips and called it meaningless in the end.
This world is very addicted to obtaining the best things and best experiences. People spend more than they earn to put that perfect image of wealth and happiness out there with the best house, car, and technology. They can’t afford it, yet they still must have it and ensure everyone sees it. We are addicted to showing the world how happy we are and what we have on social media. Preparing photos to prove to them what we are getting to do and see in hopes of making them jealous and wish they were us. We get hooked on that good feeling in our heart when people hit the “like” and “love” button on our posts and stayed glued to our screens waiting for every reaction and comment.
Addicted to the adrenaline of good experiences, we spend ourselves into oblivion traveling the world seeking good experiences because we swear we won’t find them in our home and home town. Often we lose satisfaction in the ordinary everyday life and its beauty. Often we can’t find joy in our normal uneventful life, so we keep our eyes looking outward for that hit of adrenaline from elsewhere in temporary and fleeting experiences and things.
If you have God, you already have everything. You don’t have to go out and find him because he’s right there with you. You don’t have to spend yourself into debt to find joy, because joy is already with you. Happiness will not stay with you always. If you spend and spend and try harder to harder to keep happiness with you with worldly objects and experiences, only emptiness will be found.
1 Thessalonians 4
10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
I think the bible points more toward a quiet life full of peace and love. Working diligently and serving God humbly. Not a life of seeking the best Instagram posts to prove to the world you are getting to do all this stuff. Not a life trying to prove to everyone you have all these possessions and are so happy because of it.
All those items turned to dust, break down, and are discarded in time. A few perhaps are placed into boxes and stored away for the next generation to find and have to decide what to do with. All those experiences turn into memories you cannot see or touch. Perhaps there are a few bits of paper and plastic souvenirs grasped from the moments to remember it by. King Solomon’s words are warning enough that no matter how much you own in the end, it was all vanity.
If you find a homeless man drowning in poverty on the streets that loves God, he has everything because he has God. If you find a rich man with a great mansion full of toys and treasures and memories of faraway lands and lavish experiences…but he does not have God, he has nothing.
Do not live this life worrying about what you don’t have and what you have yet to experience. If you have God, you already have everything. This world and its pleasures will not last, and they will never satisfy you.
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