When I was in High School, I set my heart on buying a custom-made snare drum shipped from California. It was priced at $1800, but I was convinced if I had it, it would make me the best drummer in Toronto, and that everyone would notice me any time I I played it.
That summer I worked hard and saved every penny I could so I could walk into a Toronto drum store and buy this drum with cash.
I still remember the day that I finally got it.
For a few weeks I kept admiring it, and showing it off everywhere I went. Funny enough, I quickly realized that no one really cared the way I had expected them to. After a few more weeks, I barely cared that I owned it, and about 3 years later it meant so little to me that I gave it away to a friend for free.
Can you relate to this? Maybe it isn’t a snare drum, but maybe there is something you set out to get in life thinking if I can own this, achieve this, or be recognized in a certain way, it will bring more meaning and purpose to my life.
Maybe you felt this way when you bought your first car? Or your first house?
Maybe it was when you entered your first relationship or received newfound attention when you got engaged?
Maybe it was when you achieved your dream job, or a promotion that came with a fancy new job title?
Have you ever dreamed about getting something for years, and once you did you may have felt the same as I did with the drum.
Was it worth it? Did it really bring meaning or purpose into your life the way you thought? Once you got it, did you ever ask if it was worth the time, energy, and finances you spent to chase after it, to begin with?
When we look at the Bible, we are introduced to a man full of great wisdom and wealth named Solomon. He was the son of King David, is the author of a few books in the Bible, and is known as the one who built the first Temple in Jerusalem.
This man had everything. The Bible says God bestowed on him royal splendor such as no king over Israel ever had before. In other words, whatever man desired in this world, Solomon had it.
As he reflects on his life, he wrote “I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this, my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
The wisest man in the world who had everything said it didn’t do it for him. Yes, he received the recognition, but when he looked at everything he received and accomplished, he described it as meaningless.
Every time I think about Solomon, it makes me ask myself, what I am chasing after in this world?
Like everyone, it’s easy to pursue all sorts of things, however, I must ask myself. Is it really going to fulfill me the way I envision? Or have I over-exaggerated the impact it will have in my life? I have found this helps me process what is really important in this life, and what is truly worth chasing after.
As we talked about the wisest man ever, one of my favorite movies ever is the exact opposite of that. Dumb and Dumber! The main actor in the movie is Jim Carey and I love the quote from him which confirms Solomon’s wisdom in today’s culture.
He says, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
If you can, take a second and look at whatever it is you are chasing in life, ask yourself these three questions:
- Why do I feel I need _________?
- Will having ________ bring me closer to God?
- Is having _________, worth the time/energy/money spent?