King Solomon’s journey into life began with an incredible, supernatural experience with the Almighty God who had chosen him to be king over His people Israel. Solomon was inexperienced and naïve, but he had a humble and tender heart.
In a childlike manner he said to God, “I don’t know what to do.” And God asked him, “What do you want?” Solomon could have requested all the things 99.9 percent of people ask for—riches, power and a long life—but he didn’t. Instead he said, “All I want is wisdom.”
God was pleased, and He gave him more knowledge, wisdom and understanding than any human being on earth. Solomon applied this wisdom to lead God’s people in righteousness and justice.
Life was beautiful because Solomon knew his purpose on earth, and he looked to God to enable him to fulfill that purpose.
But later on Solomon got off on a tragic detour. He decided to find out if there was something more to life than walking with God and doing His will. He set out to use his great wisdom to figure out everything under the sun and, in the process, create his own independent life centered around himself.
By the time he was done, he was completely disillusioned, lost and empty. He summed up his findings with the words, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Then he went on and described life as a series of meaningless and futile pursuits that end up in grief and nothingness.
What happened to godly Solomon and his wonderful relationship with God that he would come up with such a depressing conclusion? He experienced that our lives as human beings lose their beauty and joy when we no longer know why we are on earth, for our lives only make sense and have purpose in relationship to our Creator.
Once we walk away from Him, everything becomes meaningless.
Is it possible that Solomon’s experience can happen to any one of us? It can if we don’t know why we are on earth or if, as believers, we lose sight of the purpose of God in our lives. We all are driven by something, and that something determines what we say and do, the way we behave and the choices we make.
Long ago I had the following conversation with a 6-year-old boy in northern India:
Me: “What are you doing?”
Boy: “I go to school.”
Me: “Why do you go to school?”
Boy: “To learn.”
Me: “Why do you want to learn?
Boy: “So I can be smart.”
Me: “Why do you want to be smart?”
Boy: “So I can get a job.”
Me: “Why do you want to get a job?”
Boy: “So I can make money.”
Me: “Why do you want to make money?”
Boy: “So I can buy food to eat.”
Me: “Why do you want to eat food?”
Boy: “So I can live.”
At this point I told him that I had just one more question: “Why do you live?”
For the first time he paused. He looked this way and that, and in the end he looked straight into my eyes and said, “Why do I live? To die.”
I want to ask you a similar question: “What is it that makes you do what you do and be who you are today?” Think about it. Is it ambition, power, position or money that motivates you, or are you driven by fear, anger, bitterness, failure and the guilt of your past?
If your honest answer is any of the above, you are well on the way to ending up with Solomon’s sad conclusion about life: Everything is meaningless.
God’s Word tells us clearly that our life on earth is not meant to be a pointless existence, but that each of us was created to fulfill a wonderful and specific purpose in God’s plan: to live for Him.
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
When Solomon lost sight of this truth, his life became empty. Perhaps you, too, got sidetracked in your own pursuits or find yourself trapped by past failures, hurt and guilt, and you wonder if there is a way back. Yes, there is! Many examples in the Bible are proof that God’s high calling for someone’s life never expires.
Peter, whom Christ said He would give the keys of the kingdom to, is one of them. After Peter had denied the Lord three times, he thought God had no use for him any longer. But when Jesus had a private talk with Peter after His resurrection, He never mentioned his failure but only asked him if he loved Him. Then He completely restored Peter’s calling. God will do the same for you.
My dear friend, the only thing that is truly worth living for is Jesus and Jesus alone. If He becomes your sole purpose, then you know why you are on earth, and your life will be fulfilled and beautiful even in the midst of difficult circumstances.