Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; Matthew 6:25-34
As a child, one of my favorite movies was, “The Jungle Book.” I loved all the animals talking to Mowgli, and I especially loved the music. One of my favorite songs from the movie was Baloo the bear’s song, the “Bear” Necessities of life. All Baloo needed was food to eat, a place to sleep and a tall tree to scratch his back. In looking at the culture around us today, we are beginning to see some people abandon our affluent, materialistic society in favor of a more minimalist lifestyle. People are leaving large suburban homes to move into tiny houses. Large chain stores are closing as more and more people are no longer willing to pay outlandish prices. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, either give-me-more or give-me-less, there is still this apparent lack of peace. No matter what path we choose to walk, we find them all to be empty of meaning, except for that one path; the path of God.
In Ecclesiastes 2, we read that King Solomon is searching for fulfillment and happiness in this life. With his great wealth, Solomon set out to get everything he could imagine. He built houses, planted vineyards, made himself gardens and parks, accumulated servants, herds and flocks. The kin gathered a large amount of gold, silver and riches. To his own confession, Solomon says, “And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure.” It is hard for me to imagine a person being in the right set of circumstances to possess everything their heart desired, no matter how silly the desire may be. Solomon spent years not denying his desires. But after Solomon surveyed all he had gathered, built, and given to himself, he found that it was all empty of meaning and value in his heart. “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil that I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity.”
As we read through the Bible, we quickly realize that this earth promises many things that it cannot deliver. The older we get, the more we see that many things may be nice and enjoyable, but we know that it is a temporary joy. A wise person sees how far short the things of this work fall, and they must find something else to put their hope in. Truly, even the bare necessities of life cannot fulfill the human heart. The only true peace and joy that can fulfill a person’s heart can only be found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Application: What would you do if you could attempt the Solomon Experiment? Which desires of your heart would you fulfill first?
I challenge you to write out a list of the top five things you would do in your Solomon Experiment. List the first five desires of your heart you would fulfill with your wealth. After you make your list, ask yourself these questions:
- Are your purchased desires for you alone, or do they involve other people?
- Is your spending on frivolous things, or lasting things?
- If these desires were fulfilled this very moment, would you have complete peace and joy in your heart?
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus teaches us to seek first God’s Kingdom, and then all our needs will be taken care of. The secret to a content heart is not more or less things. To have a content heart is to have peace with God; to know God as your Heavenly Father. Don’t be swayed by the trends of this world but keep your eyes focused and your heart grounded. When you have a relationship with God, you have all you will ever need. May we all find our peace in Him and kiss vanity goodbye.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are more than enough for me. All the things in this world are gifts, but you are the Giver of those gifts. Teach us to love you more than the gifts you have given. You are greater, Lord. We love you, and may our love for you grow deeper. Amen.