I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Bernie Madoff and his wife had it all–luxury automobiles, vacation homes, a yacht. His net worth was in the hundreds of millions. There was only one problem with Madoff’s success: he was responsible for the largest investment fraud in United States history. Madoff cheated his victims out of as much as $65 billion. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to eleven felonies, and he passed away in prison twelve years later. In spite of everything Madoff once had, he lost it all.
Now, I have a hard time relating to billions of dollars. But it is possible to live a Bernie Madoff life on a much smaller scale. It is possible to invest your life in something only to lose it all. You might know what I am talking about–you invested your life in your work, but recently you were given the pink slip. Or you scrimped and saved and sacrificed to invest in your 401(k), but after a decade the balance has only decreased. Or you invested in a relationship, but you lost that person through death or abandonment. Or you invested in your children, but they have turned away from God and away from you. And in light of those losses, you begin to ask, “Why invest your life in anything if you can lose everything? Why spend your life serving God if in return all He is going to do is send you the very same problems He sends to unbelievers?”
Some people come to the conclusion that life is meaningless, and they say, “What if I were to cast off all the restraints of work, family, and faith and go in a different direction? What if I spent the rest of my life doing whatever I wanted to do?”
Fortunately or unfortunately, most of us do not have the ability to indulge our every fantasy. But years ago there lived a man who did. He had come to the conclusion that life was meaningless, so he said, “I am going to try to find purpose in life. I am going to try to find it in sex. In money. In power.” But at the end of his life, he concluded, “Everything in life is meaningless.”
That man’s name was Solomon, and he left a record of his journey for purpose in life in the Old Testament book we call Ecclesiastes. This week we are going to begin a study of his book. I believe Solomon has a special message for everyone–every age group, every life stage. As people around us put their faith in their money, their jobs, their relationships, or even in the government, we are going to see the uselessness of putting our faith in anything other than God to find satisfaction in life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Searching for the Good Life” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.