“…‘I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good’…I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly…I undertook great projects…I denied myself nothing my eyes desired…Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom…I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” — Ecclesiastes 2
This past weekend, another celebrity, Phillip Seymour Hoffman died way too early as a result of a heroin overdose.
I remember a few of his movies, one of my favorites being Along Came Polly, where he played Ben Stiller’s side kick. But I had no emotional attachment to him and his death didn’t resonate with me, other than to see yet another of the “rich and famous” succumb to drug or alcohol abuse.
By now, we’re hardly surprised by the downfall of celebrities, be it entertainers, musicians or athletes when it comes to the trappings of fame and fortune in the form of substance abuse, legal woes, messy divorces or bankruptcy. But it does beg the question, why do so many of us continue to chase the so-called good life when we see time and time again that its nothing more than “chasing after the wind” as Solomon wrote 3,000 years ago?
And for those readers who may be thinking, I don’t have marriage or financial issues and I certainly don’t have a drug or alcohol addiction, I would ask: what makes you happy? Where do you find your pleasure? What’s the last thing you think about before you go to bed? When you get up in the morning? What do you look forward to that consumes your thoughts?
It could be your job, a relationship, your spouse, your children, a weekend hobby, your favorite sports team, the money you’re saving to buy (fill in the blank). It might be the beer(s) that you look forward to everyday after work. Everybody has a god – either with a capital ‘G’ or a lower case ‘g.’ Everybody has addiction(s) – either with a capital ‘A’ or a lower case ‘a.’ Everybody chases after fulfillment, either temporal or eternal.
And while there’s certainly value in blessings we’re given like our spouses and children, they shouldn’t be the principle source of our peace. I would submit to you that if you’re primarily chasing after anything other than a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, you’ll constantly be going from temporal high to temporal high, void of any everlasting purpose.
Many people in our culture today see the Bible as nothing more than an ancient fairy tale written long ago. I see it as God’s blueprint — his playbook for us, and when we follow it, we’re able to discern his plan and purpose for our lives as well as the peace that goes along with it. As Solomon also summarized during his fruitless pursuit of worldly wealth, pleasure and indulgence: satisfaction, joy and peace comes from “…the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.”
Believers were united around the entirety of the Gospel, not just the truth, but the love, the grace and the mercy of Christ. A time when they set the world on fire for the Cross because they lived out their faith through selflessness, giving and sacrifice. That’s the only model we need moving forward and you won’t find it in a political movement or party.
Bill is on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a Deacon at Eagles Landing FBC in McDonough, GA. He lives in Locust Grove with his wife Amy and their three children. You can follow Bill on Facebook, Twitter @billrenje and learn more about him at his website www.achosenbullet.com.