By Jeff Arnette
When it comes to setting goals, we live in a world that is constantly trying to force us to set goals that are similar or exactly like theirs. They hold up money, fame, friends, popularity, happiness, education, and acceptance by others as worthy goals for anyone to strive to achieve. Yet, seeking after these goals will only leave us empty and desperately seeking something more.
Throughout the Bible, God has constantly warned His people that worldly possessions are temporary and fleeting. Even if you achieve such goals, they leave you needing more and more to stay happy until you become a slave to the very possessions you worked so hard to get. Now there is nothing wrong with having money, friends, and the things that we desire as long as they are not the driving force of our lives. As soon as money becomes the thing you desire and work hard to achieve it becomes your master controlling your actions and life.
There has to be a better way church! I am thankful to God that He has revealed to us a better way to live.
The book of Ecclesiastes is a book that I think should be read by all young adults and teenagers. It is also a book that mature Christians and adults need to return to often. King Solomon wrote this book after spending a great deal of his time and money seeking happiness in the world apart from God. In the book he tells us that he sought happiness in wisdom (education), self-indulgence (pleasure, possessions, and happiness), and toiling (working hard) and ended up disappointed and disillusioned about life. At the end of each pursuit Solomon would conclude, as we all should, that chasing after such things was an empty pursuit. In fact, he called it “Vanity and striving after wind.” Have you ever tried to catch the wind in a bottle? Have you ever tried to outrun it as it sweeps across the valley?
Do me a favor and as soon as you can I want you to read these Bible verses. Read Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17; 2:11, 17, and 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 5:16; 6:9. I want you to notice the context of what Solomon is saying and then note what he calls vanity and chasing after the wind. All the things that we normally hold as important and desire in life become insignificant when we see clearly.
Solomon concludes his pursuit in chapter 12 with the idea that we should get our relationship with God right while we are young and before our body becomes old and we die. Then he ends the book with some powerful words for all of us.
"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14)
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.