Originally posted on tayibs.com
Where does your satisfaction come from? Just pause for about 5- 10 minutes before you answer this question. What are the thoughts that came to your mind when you considered the question?
King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes tackled this question of satisfaction and I would like focus on some key verses in this book that give us a glimpse into what it means to be truly satisfied. Let’s start with Ecclesiastes 2:24-26
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment[c] in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,25 for apart from him[d] who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
The greatest gift in life is to be able to find fulfillment in the most mundane activities we do-eat, drink and work. But Solomon realizes that even enjoying the most mundane things can’t be done apart from God. Without God being in it, eating, drinking and working can’t bring any satisfaction. To the one who pleases God ( and without faith, it is impossible to please God), God grants wisdom, knowledge and joy, but to the sinner ( the one who rejects God’s authority in his/her life) God has given them the activity of gathering and collecting only to hand it to the one who pleases God. Most people will say that’s unfair, but let’s face it. Who in the first place has given us the abilities that we possess? The one who rejects God thinks he is self-made, allows him/her to believe the lie , yet doesn’t allow him/her to enjoy the fruits of his/her labor.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment[h] in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
Solomon reiterates his point again, this time he is saying that what is fitting and good is the ability of a man/woman to find enjoyment in all their toil, for that is their lot. A lot is considered a portion of land that has been handed to someone. Solomon is saying that one’s inheritance lies in the ability to enjoy work. And verse 19 explains it better. God is the one who gives wealth, possessions, and God is also the one who gives the power/ability to enjoy wealth and possessions. God is the one who gives the power to accept one’s lot ( inheritance). God is the one who gives the power to enjoy work. Solomon is saying that the ability to enjoy possessions, wealth, to accept one’s lot, and to rejoice in one’s work is a gift of God. In other words, apart from God, true satisfaction is impossible. V20 shows what it means to be truly satisfied- For the one who pleases God doesn’t reminisce on the so called good old days because God fills his heart with joy, because God has become the object of His satisfaction. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”,
in other words He will begin to plant His desires in you, in order to keep you occupied with joy in your heart.
There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity;[a] it is a grievous evil. 3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered.
Solomon now describes the worst thing that can happen to a man/woman. To have wealth, possessions, honor or lacking in nothing that one desires yet God doesn’t give the person the ability/power to enjoy those things. What could be worse in life than that and many of us fall under one of these categories. To make his point clear, Solomon gives us another vivid real life example. A man who fathers a multitude of children, lives many years but who isn’t satisfied with life’s good things ( eating, drinking, work, possessions, honor, children, you fill in the blanks).According to Solomon even a stillborn is better off than that man/woman. I don’t think I could explain it any better, the word of God is sufficient for this matter. I could go on and on with these verses but you see the big picture, apart from GOD , there is no satisfaction in life.
The cynic’s objection
Some of you may say , I’m OK, I’m enjoying what I’m doing and life is great right now but so did Anthony Bourdain. He claimed that his body was an amusement park, thus defying God’s word, for the word of God declares -“ your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit “. Solomon has these people in mind in chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes in verses 9-11 , let’s read it
9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
God has created everything beautiful in its own time, in the sense that nothing is everlasting , all pleasures and satisfactions are temporal . But what God has also done is that He has wired us to long for that which is eternal, yet we haven’t fully grasped what God has done and we end up chasing after temporary things that will never fulfill us. God has created us so we can find our identity and true joy in Him. The sinful nature has corrupted our thinking so we long after the created things instead of longing after God Himself , yet those temporary fixes always leave us dry, empty and unfulfilled, which is going back to Solomon ‘s earlier assertions in Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 and Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, Ecclesiastes 6:1-4.. That takes my to my last point, the rest of God.
The rest of God
Whenever performance becomes the driving force behind any actions that I take , I forfeit the joy , grace and peace of God and I become rather unproductive and fruitless. The solution is to live by faith but living by faith requires surrender ( cease resistance )Scripture says that God’s commands are not burdensome for the one whom God loves. Taskmasters put a heavy yoke on us, pressure to perform and achieve results in order to feel fulfilled. God creates what He commands while the taskmaster expects what He demands of us without lifting the finger to help only to leave you dry and empty.
The Lord made the 7th day Holy and blessed it. We are still in the day of Rest and those that are blessed are those that enter the sanctifying work of the 7th day , those on whom the Spirit of God rests. Those that have been called and sanctified by God Himself
Rested vessels are the holy vessels. Any unholy vessel isn’t in a state of rest.
Whoever has entered God’s rest has rested from his own works the same way God rested from His works in creation, in the sense that God completely finished and no longer creates in the sense of the works in creation. Now God has made the 7th Day Holy , so God is in the work of sanctification now to make A Holy People for Himself. And to enter that rest I must surrender my will and my tendency to want to be a creator ( trying to be a little god ). Give up my right to be my own god and let God Himself make me Holy. It’s not in me to create anything for I can create nothing, all it brings is frustration, emptiness and more fruitlessness. Stop trying to be God and submit to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.