Enjoying the Journey
“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man..” Ecclesiastes 3:12
I spent the first 30 years of my life as a non-believer. I was familiar with Christianity and I had been to church. But the idea of happiness (sex, alcohol, adventure, excitement), the drive to achieve (reputation, winning), and the desire to acquire (money, property, etc.) kept Him in the dark. Happiness is addictive and the legalism—if this, then that—of achievement and acquisition, while enticing, is fleeting and fickle. But most of all, the selfishness leaves you empty. I could do all the things that made me happy, I earned achievement after achievement, and I bought a house and expensive cars, all before I was 30. Alas, I was unfulfilled because I wasn’t living for Him. I wasn’t enjoying His gifts. Rather, it was always one success after another, clinging to vice-after-vice, believing that I’ll “really be happy” with more success.
But the journey isn’t about happiness, it’s about Joy; it’s not about achieving, it’s about doing good, the right thing; it’s not about acquiring, it’s about knowing that He will provide for you. So what does that leave? Nothing but enjoying the journey and doing what we can to glorify Him.
Ecclesiastes was the first book in The Bible that I came to know, and understanding it was paramount in shining light on Who was always there, Who I had kept in the dark, and in filling the emptiness. The author, King Solomon, was a Kingdom Man and the son of King David, also a Kingdom Man, and in the lineage of Jesus Christ. King Solomon was the wealthiest man in The Bible. He achieved more and acquired more than anyone else. He was also a ladies man and known as one of the wisest men in The Bible. Yet, even though he had all these things and had accomplished so much he still concluded “Vanity, vanity…I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:13
He also wrote many of my favorite Bible verses that help me to make sense out of this life and to enjoy the journey. Like “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1. And: “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 6:9 NLT.
King Solomon reminds us: “There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:14-15.
“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun–all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:9-10
Eat, drink, and be merry. Oh, and fear the Lord, your God.