Most people want to experience fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives. Sadly, many times they look in the wrong places to find it. The Bible records four such attempts to find fulfillment by a brilliant man with boatloads of money. He shares the results of his searches in the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes. His name was Solomon, the king of Israel. He lived about one thousand years before Christ. Though long ago, his searches for fulfillment are just like ours.
EDUCATION – Many people think happiness and fulfillment will be found in getting good grades and achieving a certain level of education or knowledge. After all the hard work, it’s a great feeling to earn a new diploma or certificate. The Bible says, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul” (Proverbs 13:19). Solomon said, “I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 1:13) People came from far and wide to hear him expound on subjects ranging from botany to zoology. “He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish.” (1 Kings 4:33) If he were alive today, we’d probably classify him as a genius, and I’m sure he’d be an expert in computers and all things technological.
ENTERTAINMENT – Entertainment comes in all sorts of sizes and configurations for different people. For some it’s outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, running, skiing, swimming) that rejuvenate them. Others are entertained by indoor activities (video games, reading, drawing, painting, sculpting, playing musical instruments). Others attend concerts, theater productions, movies, or listen to music. Solomon chose to put on fine dinners. He said, “I tried cheering myself with wine. I acquired men and women singers.” (Ecclesiastes 2:3,8)
PROJECTS – Some people are gifted to accomplish and manage a variety of projects. Some enjoy building new things or remodeling existing things. Others enjoy landscaping or architecture and have an aesthetic eye when it comes to shapes and colors. Solomon immersed himself in large building projects. “I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.“ (Ecclesiastes 2:4–6)
MONEY – Some people are gifted in knowing how to invest and make money. Others acquire lots of cars or other items. Solomon said, ”I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.” (Ecclesiastes 2:8) The Bible says that he acquired 25 TONS of gold each year. Talk about a wealthy man!
CONCLUSION – There is nothing wrong with learning or recreating or accomplishing projects or accumulating wealth. Solomon engaged in all of them. His observation was that, while providing temporary pleasure, they all fell short of producing lasting fulfillment. He concluded, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14). Solomon concluded that lasting fulfillment is found in a loving relationship with God. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). Through Jesus we establish a love-relationship with God and therefore we can enjoy lasting fulfillment in our soul.