This past week we watched episode #2: The Purpose of Life (pt.1). Greg took the cast snorkeling, and back on the boat they began to discuss what they would do if someone gave them 10 million dollars with no strings attached. Their answers were very honest. Some talked about taking care of their families, traveling, buying expensive cars and homes, writing novels, giving to charity, etc... We also asked this question in small groups. I was really proud that all of you took the time to look at your priorities and answer honestly as well.
The second discussion in the video included the story of King Solomon. Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is under a section of the bible called the "wisdom books." God gave Solomon the gift of wisdom, a gift that he would never loose no matter what circumstances he found himself in. We all know that sometimes good sense goes right out the window when we're with our friends, or at a party, etc... But God gave Solomon wisdom he couldn’t ignore. So, Solomon decided to use his brilliance to figure out what makes life fulfilling. For an entire year, Solomon drank as much as he wanted, bought thousands of slaves, lived in huge palaces, married hundreds of women, had 700 concubines (prostitutes), amassed a huge fortune, etc... Everything he did was excessive. He says in the bible that he denied himself NOTHING. And at the end of all this, Solomon says "it was like chasing after the wind"; which is a saying that means it wasn't fulfilling, it left him empty, it didn't ultimately make him happy.
In my group we talked about the implications of Solomon’s experiment. A lot time we go to church and the pastor gives all kinds of moral commands for things we shouldn't do or try; ways that we shouldn’t live our lives. A lot of times we think, "Dude, you live in a bubble. you've never tried that, had do you know its so bad? and how dare you tell me NOT to do that." But Solomon, he got the credibility. He LITERALLY did every sinful thing you could possibly do, hoping it would satisfy him, and it didn’t.
In the bible Jesus says that he came to give us the life that is truly life. Or, as some translations put it: life to the fullest. Zane talked about this. But sometimes we look at all the things we're commanded not to do, and suddenly seems like Jesus is this really uptight drill sergeant, shouting down commands at us. But the bible paints the opposite picture. God says, 'sure, you can go off and do whatever you like, but don't expect it to make you happy." You see readers: the life Jesus invites us into is completely counter intuitive. he says if you die to yourself, only then will you truly live. It sounds backwards right? And he calls this way of living "the life that is truly life, "life to the fullest." Apparently, when we live in tune with how God created us, we will be richly blessed and wholly fulfilled.
I believe the next step is trust. I have to trust that going against my cravings will give me a lasting satisfaction. Pastor Rob Bell puts it this way, "Lust promises what it CANT deliver." God always delivers, he never fails.
As you reflect on what you purpose in life is, be encouraged that the backwards way of the gospels is how we have been created to live. And when we step into that way of life, God will give us the life that is TRULY life!!!
Grace and Peace,