By Shane Kastler
Most people have a desire to be great at something. Aspiring ball players work day and night to become the greatest of all time. Others hope to make a name for themselves in politics, or music, or medicine. Working hard to achieve greatness is a noble desire. But worldly accolades amount to nothing if you don't know the Lord.
King Solomon became the “greatest” man in all of Israel. He wrote these words, “Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem.” (Ecclesiastes 2:9) Solomon was the son of David, who many consider to be the greatest king Israel ever had. Yet in some ways, Solomon exceeded him. Solomon had more wisdom, money, and power. Yet in spite of this all, he was left feeling empty. He wrote, “Thus 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.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
Solomon discovered that all the pleasure of this world meant nothing apart from the Lord. Our lives on earth are temporary, and at times we recognize the truth that our days on earth are numbered. We may attain greatness, but eventually we die. And then what?
Our earthly blessings can only be enjoyed to the full, when we have a right relationship with our Creator. And Jesus came to earth, that we might have this right relationship. By turning from our sin in repentant faith and trusting in Christ as Lord, we can have meaning in life and focus our attention on eternal matters. While earthly matters still remain, through Christ our minds and hearts transcend the transient and rest on the eternal.
We should be thankful for the gifts that God has given us on earth. We should enjoy those gifts, but we should worship the Giver of those gifts. Don't turn God's gifts into a false god. Don't live for the fleeting pleasure of this life, but rather look to Christ and rest in things eternal. Solomon learned to trust God the hard way, by trusting in so many other, futile things first. Learn from his mistakes rather than emulating them. True greatness means to trust in the One who is truly great! Don't just live for today. Live for eternity and long for the day in which you will be there, in the presence of the One who can give you a joyful life that never ends.