“Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat & hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke & spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.” These words were written thousands of years ago by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11 (MSG). Yet, how many of us ignore its warning & continue to blindly chase goals that promise the same dire consequence? Sadly, it’s so easy to do. I know, for I once placed my health, my family & my walk with God in great jeopardy for such fool’s gold. They are the prodigal pursuits many of us fall for:
Position: As a competitive person, I lived out Lombardi’s declaration that “there is no room for 2nd place” & would wear-out myself & others in the process. Although I remain highly driven to deliver my absolute best, today my motivation is very different. Consider – does the fear of failure propel us? Do we covet successes & crave approval & recognition from others? Are we so insecure & prideful that we neglect God & family for hollow trophies? When our accomplishments point to self they are in vain, but if they point to the cross & strengthen others in Christ they are always a great gain (1Corinthians 9:24).
Possessions: There’s nothing wrong with owning nice things – if they don’t “own” us. We endanger ourselves & others when our pursuits lead us away from God, our family & the wise stewardship practices of tithing, saving & reducing/avoiding debt. Our income may cover a desired lifestyle today, but what if we lose our job, or face unforeseen costs? Do those same possessions suddenly magnify our burdens? Through Christ we learn the power of contentment without complacency (1 Timothy 6:6).
Prosperity: When our position & possessions increase, we might be perceived as prosperous – an alluring priority for many of us. Yet, is this a true measuring stick for success? As Christians, we know it’s not, but it still so easily seduces us. Like fish lured by a dressed hook, we can get distracted from our true nourishment & refuge. True prosperity is found in Christ & how fruitful we allow Him to make us for His Kingdom – and He does this through His princes & paupers (John 15:8).
Application: “Pursuing Precious Priorities” – John 10:10
Would all the world’s pleasures & treasures be worth forfeiting inner peace & joy despite circumstances, loving relationships & even the eternal condition of our soul? Of course not! May we never forget, our only lasting pleasure rests in our “reckless reliance” in Christ & in sharing the precious treasure(s) of the gospel entrusted to us all.