If you could name the one thing that would make you happy, what would it be?
Money? Health? Success? A husband, wife, child?
Kind Solomon tried all of these and more in his search. Gold was so abundant during his reign that silver was considered worthless. He built himself a throne covered with ivory and overlaid with pure gold. He was considered the wisest man who has ever lived and people came from far away just to ask him hard questions. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (which seems to contradict him being so wise). His gardens and building projects were beyond compare.
Yet, over and over in Ecclesiastes—the book that tells the story of his search—he repeats the phrase, “Everything is meaningless.” He doesn’t reveal the one thing that filled the void until the end of the book. But he finally found the meaning of life.
In the New Testament, when Jesus and His disciples dropped by Martha’s place for dinner, she went into hyper drive. She hurried and scurried to get food ready for 13 men and it fried her grits that Mary wasn’t helping (Luke 10:38-42). When she couldn’t take it anymore she complained, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Surprisingly, Jesus didn’t encourage Mary to help, but told Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” The one thing Martha thought would make Jesus proud was serving Him; being a good hostess. But it, and the worry and anger accompanying her busyness, was what kept her from the one thing He values most.
Later on, a rich ruler came to Jesus to ask what “one thing” he needed to do to get into heaven. Jesus asked him if he had kept the commandments. He said he had since he was a child. Then Jesus pointed out that in order to find the one thing, there was one thing he needed to give up—his riches (Luke 18:18-30).
It seems there’s only one way any of us is ever going to find true satisfaction in life. We must release our grip on the one thing that poses as the answer, but does not satisfy our deepest need. And we must pursue the one thing that will fill the ache completely.
For the rich ruler, his love of material wealth kept him from putting God first in his life. The first commandment is conveniently left out of the ones he lists as having kept. When Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him, the man went away sad. He couldn’t let go of earthly riches to gain what would last forever. He left without finding his one thing.
Jesus pointed out to Martha that Mary put Him and His teaching first, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Martha apparently took that to heart since she, Mary, and their brother Lazarus (whom Jesus later raised from the dead) remained His followers. She found her one thing in Jesus.
This doesn’t mean that money, keeping all the commandments, hospitality, serving others, and all these pursuits are not good things. They’re just not the one thing. The one thing is Jesus, and He’s the only One who can fill us up and make us whole.
#meaningoflife #can’tgetnosatisfaction #purpose #whatmakesmehappy