Risk Services of Arkansas - February 2019

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Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Finding Contentment Searching for the Secret to Life

L ast month, I talked about my New Year’s resolution. This month, I’d like to talk about an ongoing aspiration I’ve been working on for some time now: to focus more on the good things in my day-to-day life while striving toward overall contentment — even in the midst of such a complicated, up and down world. As a businessperson with strong ambitions, it can be difficult to look around at what you have and declare it to be enough. Of course, if you want to stay relevant in business, you have to keep growing by pushing forward. I find that as I get older, I’m trying to focus on growing and improving the business while also trying to enjoy and be content with the blessings I already have. It’s a difficult balance that I rarely get right. As I try to navigate this journey called life, I’ve found that I spend more and more time studying the best road map I know: the Bible. Specifically, concerning the idea of contentment, I’m drawn to the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, which summarizes Solomon’s quest for meaning and purpose in his life. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start preaching, but I’ve again been struck by the truth in these pages. I thought that by sharing my

imparted. In Ecclesiastes 5:10, he wrote, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.” In my opinion, you can take his perspective about money and wealth and apply it to all “things” in the world. No matter howmuch we pursue “things” like success, achievement, status, pleasure, or fame, they will never be enough. I believe God created us such that we cannot be truly satisfied or content with the “things” of the world apart fromHim. Instead, as Solomon summarized at the conclusion of his book, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Love God and keep his commands, for this is the whole duty of man.” As I take it, the answer to contentment in life isn’t to constantly pursue satisfaction in the “things” of this world, but instead, to love God and to love people. This gives life meaning and purpose. One practical way we can do this is by using the “things” God blesses us with to bless others. In my own life, this is what brings me the most joy and contentment. My hope is that you and I can take some of the lessons imparted from the wisest man in the world and use them for our own benefit so that we don’t get to the end of our lives and lament, like Solomon, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”

perspective, someone else might get something positive out of these truths too. When God appeared to King Solomon and asked himwhat he desired most, Solomon didn’t ask for wealth or power, but for wisdom; so that he could better lead his people. In 2 Chronicles 1:12 we read that — because of the genius of Solomon’s request —God gave him not only wisdom and knowledge, but also “wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” Solomon asked only for the guidance to lead those who depended on him, and in return, received everything the world has to offer . He ended up not just the wisest, but the richest man of all time — surrounded by everything anyone could possibly desire. The interesting thing to me is that “having everything” ultimately left Solomon empty and un-fulfilled because he pursued it all apart fromGod. At the close of his life, he looked on his past and said “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecc 12:8). Though he had experienced everything the world had to offer, it all rang hollow. And in turn, throughout the book, he offered many of the most important lessons ever

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.”

–Brad Johnson

President, Risk Services of AR Specialized Insurance Programs for Specialized Industries. • www.insurica.com • 1


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