I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Everybody is searching for fulfillment in life. People try to fill the void in their lives with anything they can find. Some people think work is the way to fill that emptiness. But almost two-thirds of Americans say they are not engaged at their jobs, or they have a downright terrible work experience. Trust me, work will not fill that void. Other people believe if they can just accumulate enough money or fame, maybe those things will fill the emptiness in their heart. Years ago, I was in the audience of “The Tonight Show” when Johnny Carson was the host. I was sitting in the front row, and that particular night his special guest was Bob Hope. These two kings of the entertainment world, both multi-millionaires, were having the best time laughing and joking–until the commercial break. As soon as the cameras stopped rolling, the two men stopped talking to one another. They stared blankly into space with expressions that said, “I would rather be anywhere else in the world than where I am right now.” They were absolutely miserable. Those expressions are burned into my mind. Any time I am tempted to think, “If I could just climb one more rung up the success ladder, then I could truly be happy,” I recall those men’s miserable expressions. Money, fame, and success will not fill that emptiness.
Thousands of years ago, there was another man who made it to the top of the success ladder. His name was Solomon, and he was the wealthiest man of his day. He had hundreds of wives and concubines, impressive achievements, and all the pleasures he could want. Yet look at how he summarized his life in Ecclesiastes 2:11: “I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.”
Why are we always searching after some new pleasure, some new accomplishment, only to be profoundly disappointed? Because eternal beings can be satisfied only by that which is eternal. You cannot fill a great ocean with a single bucket of water, can you? The same is true for our hearts. The Bible says God has “set eternity in [our] heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). From the moment we are born, we have a sense that there is something beyond this life. God has placed an ocean of eternity in our hearts. Yet we try to fill it one bucket at a time–a bucket of money, a bucket of pleasure, a bucket of accomplishment–and we wonder why we are not getting anywhere. To find true fulfillment and joy, we need an eternal purpose. And what could be more eternal than joining with God in fulfilling His purpose? The key to fulfillment in life is carrying out God’s mission of bringing people into His kingdom.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Putting On Your Soul Shoes” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Jim Harter, “U.S. Employee Engagement Rises Following Wild 2020,” Gallup, February 26, 2021, https://news.gallup.com/poll/241649/employee-engagement-rise.aspx.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org