Is My Life Centered On…
17 So I set out to learn everything…. Ecclesiastes 1:17a
We have a lot of people pushing us hard to center our lives on education. We spend the great majority of our early years in school. About a quarter of our lives! Then there is the pressure to go to college. My dad said, “Son there are only 2 schools, Sunday school and Texas A & M! And your going to go to both! Getting an education. See if you can finish this statement: “Education the key to ________? SUCCESS! Education is necessary and needed but its NOT to be the center of our lives. We will look at this in more detail in future post.
10 Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. Ecclesiastes 2:10a
See if you can finish this statement: “If it feels good ________? DO IT! This is one of our gods today. We are all looking to be entertained, looking for comfort and ease. We easily neglect what is RIGHT to what FEELS RIGHT. What FEELS RIGHT takes the center stage in our lives. What we WANT becomes the highest value. If we have to lie, cheat, steal, cut corners and go into debt we will to get what we want. Solomon did this, we do this and it leads to emptiness. Again please hear me. God gave us pleasure and wants us to experience pleasure. We will look at this in more detail in a few weeks but when pleasure becomes the center of our lives leaves us broken and disillusioned.
If you make pleasure the goal of your life you will eventually become a hypocrite. You can’t be in pleasure all the time so you start pretending like you’re having fun. It’s like the old bumper sticker: Are we having fun yet? I’m supposed to be having fun but I’m not.
10 …I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. Ecclesiastes 2:10b
See if you can finish this statement: “I owe, I owe so off to ________? WORK I GO!
Our work is a way to pay the bills but for so many work is WHO we are. Our lives are wrapped in what we do that it becomes our identity. If you are around people for five minutes the question will arise, “So, what do you do?” Work is not only our identity but it becomes the vehicle to greatness in society’s eyes. If you work at it, one day you will be somebody. The truth is you are already somebody! God wants us to work and put our heart into our work, but work CANNOT be the center of our lives. We will take a week and look at a balanced approach to work.
8 I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces… I had everything a man could desire! Ecclesiastes 2:8
This is another one of the American gods. We have literally so much and yet we are so empty. We live in such abundance. Did you know, as Americans we spend more on trash bags than 90 other countries spend on everything! The receptacles of our WASTE cost more than ALL the goods consumed by nearly half of the world’s nations!
We have more possessions in the history of the world of any country, yet we are still NOT satisfied. In fact as Americans we are about approximately 6% of the world’s population but take 70% of all the drugs produced.
We HAVE but in reality WE HAVE NOT.
Its time to rethink life. Are you ready?
Why is this book Ecclesiastes in the Bible? I think God is trying to teach us that here are some dead ends you can avoid. Save your time, save your money — it’s not found in these things. We tend to overestimate things we haven’t experienced yet. Solomon comes to the conclusion in 2:17 “So I came to hate life.” Solomon was fed up and frustrated. Many of you are having the same feelings. You are fed up, frustrated, ready for a change. Your life stinks. Here is some good news.
For My Life to Have Greatest Meaning, it Should be Centered On God
1 Don’t … forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Ecclesiastes 12:1
“Forget your creator.” This is good. That’s what we often do. We get busy, we focus on other pursuits and forget to pursue our relationship with God. We forget to center our life on the unchanging and center it on fleeting, temporary and the unfulfilling. Our lives were created with a God shaped vacuum that only He can fill. Only He can satisfy. I love what Jesus says in John 10:10
Jesus: “10 … My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
That’s why Jesus came. That we might have “a rich and satisfying life.” But no, too often we say, “I know what will satisfy!” “I know what will give me a rich life!” and then we pursue our way to find that it is empty. Jesus doesn’t mince words, when asked the most important thing in ALL the bible. He says it is to have the Lord our God at the center of everything.
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-38
Some of you know about Christ intellectually. But you do not know him personally. You have heard about Him from parents, church, from friends, you are familiar but not intimate. You have him in your head, but not in your heart. There needs to be time that you cross the line. A time where you say, “My way is not working, I need you Jesus.” “I cannot enter eternity without you” “I have blow it and I need your forgiveness” This is the honest type of faith and belief the bible is referring to. Have you invited Christ in your life? Today can be the day where you say, “I trust you Christ. I ask you to forgive me. I want you in my life.” Then there is another difficult process that is life long. The process of following Christ with your life. Not only do we need Christ for salvation. We need him in every area of our lives, like our decisions.
Decisions, decisions, decisions! Lets talk about the big three: Time, Money and Relationships. God has a plan and a way that is right for handling each of these.
We live in a world that changes all around us. Nobody knows what the future holds. This is uncharted territory. You don’t know what the future holds but God has given you direction. It is the values that are in His word, the Bible. They have been the same since the dawn of time. That is why at The Ridge Fellowship we build everything around the words in this book. He tells us His love for us, His plan for us. That we can be forgiven, He tells us how to grow. He tells us to give of our income. He tells us connect with one another in worship and fellowship. He tells us to serve. Everything we need for living TODAY is in God’s Word.
I do a lot of thinking about this as a parent. I realize that my three children are going to face a different world that I did when I grew up. I can’t possibly know all of the temptations they may go through. I may not be there to help them make their decisions. And since I don’t know what the situations are going to be how can I help them as a parent? I can help them make decisions that are based on God’s word.
Why would we want to follow God’s word? Why would we want to make decisions that are centered on God? Because we seek to honor him with our life. If I center my life on a career then when it crumbles my life crumbles. That means I’d better center my life on something that can never be taken away from me. That is my relationship to God. We were made to know God and center our life on him.
Some of you just in the last few weeks or couple of months, have hit the wall. You’ve had a major crisis in your life, financial crisis, health crisis, relational crisis in your marriage, a career crisis, you’ve lost a loved one. In those moments you start asking questions like, “Is my life centered around the right things. Am I living the right way? Are my decisions leading me in the right direction?” If you’ve had that crisis and you’ve asked those questions recently, I want to say to you “Congratulations.” Not that I’m happy for your pain. I’m not saying that. But if your pain gets you to ask the important questions that you wouldn’t ask if your life were in cruise control mode, I’m glad for that. Because I don’t want you to waste your life and neither does God. You were made to know Him and His plan and purpose and live by this. And when you know God and live by His values, life unfolds in a way that you can’t imagine is possible.