The Secret to a Fulfilled Life
Today’s Text: Ecclesiastes 12:13
CHRISTIAN LIVING 21C
The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes is one of the most profound pieces of literature. Known by the Latin transliteration of the Hebrew title, The Preacher is also the pseudonym of the author. Most attribute the writings to King Solomon, the wisest man in recorded history.
Unfortunately, many who attempt to read Ecclesiastes never get beyond the preacher’s declaration at the beginning of the first chapter:
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2).
Interpreted as fatalism, the introduction leads some to conclude that the pursuit of excellence in life is futile. Solomon, however, leads the persistent reader to an unmistakable conclusion via a series of personal experiences:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.“
PURSUE LIFE ZEALOUSLY
Solomon didn’t do anything half-heartedly. He was motivated to succeed and energetic in the pursuits of life. Solomon lived life zealously putting every available resource into achieving worthy and ambitious goals (2:4-10). His life is a testament to astounding accomplishments. He accumulated great wealth. Solomon was the embodiment of success. (1)
Yet, reaching goals is only a partial measure of success. Solomon’s achievements were spectacular. But, he admits that as an end in itself, success is empty and unfulfilling; or as he describes it, “vanity and grasping for the wind” (4:16).
To be clear, Solomon never disparaged success. His was not the pessimism that pervades popular culture. Today, increasing numbers conclude that the effort to achieve success in any pursuit of life is a waste of time that only leads to disappointment and/or failure.
Recently, I noticed a demotivational quote circulating on social media. Maybe you saw it too? Every corpse on Mount Everest was once an extremely motivated person. That cynical commentary is only part of a bigger story. Not everyone who climbed the 29,000 foot rock died in their quest. True, some 214 corpses line the ascents to the summit of Everest.
Since 1953, however, more than 4,000 climbers have actually stood at “the top of the world” and returned to talk about it. The majority achieved their goal! They succeeded in spite of peril and incredible challenges.
PURSUE WHAT MATTERS
Facing challenges and determining to succeed in spite of obstacles is an admirable character trait. None-the-less, Ecclesiastes teaches that there is more to success than overcoming challenges and realizing goals. In one brief but profound six-word sentence, Solomon provides the defining secret for meaning and fulfillment in life:
“Fear God and keep His commandments” (12:13).
The simplicity of Solomon’s instruction belies the profound truth communicated. No matter how great your achievements, no matter how spectacular your success, if you leave God out of the picture, your life will be hollow, empty and unsatisfying—all is vanity.
Adam and Eve learned this truth through a life-changing experience that created grave consequences for humanity. They aspired to achieve god-like status by dodging God and acting contrary to His stated will. It cost them the one thing that brings true fulfillment in life—a relationship with God.
The imperative to fear and obey God is personal. Solomon described this priority saying, “For this is man’s all” (v. 13). In plain English, this is each man’s reason for being. You fulfill your purpose and enjoy a meaningful life when you grasp and live out the imperative to, “Fear God and keep His commandments” (v. 13).
Each day brings a new dawn. Move forward! Face challenges! Overcome obstacles! Achieve your goals! Determine to make today a spectacular success! But, more importantly, fulfill your destiny by honoring God and determining to live for Him.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2018, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Unless otherwise noted, Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) 1 Kings 4:29-34
1) Achieving the Objective. By Ian Taylor [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios