Several times a day I find myself ruminating over things I need to get done, things I ought to get done, things I’d like to get done, and things I feel like doing. Needless to say, those categories never all get done! In fact, the more time I think about all the things I could be doing, the less I actually do. Time management experts say the key to efficient use of time is to develop a plan and prioritize your actions based on how much “value” you receive from accomplishing each one. This is an interesting concept and very logical, however it has one major drawback: it presupposes that “value” is a quantifiable and objective entity. How does one decide what gives “value” to their life? Most people believe that material wealth in the form of money or “stuff” adds value to their life. However the wisdom of the ages has proven that supposition to be incorrect. Solomon wrote the entire book of Ecclesiastes pointing out the flaws in trying to pursue happiness via self-gratification.
If we assume that Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, was correct in that money and stuff will never satisfy us, that leaves us with the “intangibles” of life. These are the things which cannot be “seen” or “held,” yet we know they exist and dramatically impact our lives. Most of these fall into the category of “emotions” and include: love, anger, jealousy, and resentment among others. These “intangibles” hold the key to our happiness and sense of fulfilment. You see, God created us to be in relationship- with Him and with one another. It is only through that relationship that we can truly find peace, contentment, and joy. Our relationships are largely driven by our emotions (how we feel about God or another person). Since emotions are volatile and change rapidly with circumstances, they are destined to leave us in relationships marked by jealousy, resentment, and anger when things don’t go “our way.” So that leaves us with the question of how we can learn to enjoy our relationships and receive fulfilment from them.
The short answer is to quit trying to get “our” way and let God have “His” way in our lives. Our self-centeredness needs to become God-centeredness. As we “let go” of our egos and personal agendas and “let God” dictate the events of our lives, we will see our contentment and peace continually growing as we learn to truly love God and others as He loves us. One of the major roadblocks to human happiness is that we have a flawed sense of purpose – why we are here. If you ask the average person what their life goals are you will likely receive an answer which smacks of material wealth and/or personal achievement. Whereas Solomon, who had all that in spades, came to the conclusion that man’s purpose is to fear (stand in awe of) God and keep His commandments. This will allow us to enjoy Him forever and teach us to focus on relationships as our Creator God intended them.
May you all be as Paul, content in whatever circumstances in which you find yourselves. May we also take the Apostle’s advice to keep us that way as we pray without ceasing.
-Pastor Dave Jones