Summary: Solomon’s final words about finding satisfaction in life.
SERIES: BE SATISFIED
(part of this message adapted from a message by Dave Stone)
It’s great to be back with you this morning following a two-week vacation. We had a great time at the North American Christian Convention and bring you greetings from Tom and Beth Weaver and from Bob Larson. We also had a great visit with my dad. Thanks for allowing us the time off.
I want to share a story with you that I heard Max Lucado tell at the final main session of the NACC. It’s about three preachers who love to play golf. These three preachers die and go to heaven. An angel greets them and welcomes them to their eternal home. He shares some of the splendors of heaven. He tell them they can eat whatever they like – there are no bad calories in heaven. And if they like to golf, the golf courses in heaven are spectacular. They can play all they want. The angel then told them that the only thing they could not do was to hit any of the ducks on the water hazards. If they hit a duck, there were severe penalties.
The three preachers talked it over. They decided that they’d never hit any ducks while playing golf on earth and probably wouldn’t hit any in heaven, either. Besides that, what kind of penalty could there be in heaven?
These three preachers spent the next several thousand years playing golf. One day, one of them tees off and hits a duck right in the head. The duck falls over dead. The preachers look around to see if anyone saw what happened and sure enough, Saint Peter comes down the hill with the ugliest woman they had ever seen. He leg shackles the woman to the preacher who hit the duck. Saint Peter tell them that this is the penalty for hitting a duck. The first preacher is devastated. Not only is he leg-shackled to the ugliest woman he’s ever seen, he can’t play golf anymore so he leaves the group.
The other two preachers continue to play. After several thousand more years, another one hits a line drive on his approach shot and hits a duck. It keels over dead. Sure enough, they see Saint Peter coming down the hill leading an even uglier woman than before. He leg shackles the woman to the preacher and heads off back over the hill. The preacher knows his golfing days are over so he leaves the course.
The third preacher is disappointed but keeps right on playing golf. He plays for another thousand years and everything going great. He starts to hit a chip shot onto the green when out of the corner of his eye he sees movement. He looks up and Saint Peter is coming down the hill with the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. She is stunning. He is awe-struck.
Saint Peter leg-shackles the woman to the preacher. He just stands and stares for a few minutes. Finally, he gets the nerve to say something. He tells her, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I cannot think of one single thing I’ve done to be leg-shackled to you for eternity.” She says, “I have no idea, either. All I know is that I hit a duck!”
We’re going to complete our study through Ecclesiastes this morning. American novelist Thomas Wolfe said, “Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it is the most lasting and profound.” Solomon has discussed a variety of important things in Ecclesiastes. Let’s look at a quick summary of those important things.
First, Solomon says that we are all on a spiritual search. We’re trying to find meaning in our lives in the things of this world. But Solomon says that these worldly things are “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”
Second, the thrills and accomplishments of this life are incapable of satisfying our spiritual search. And Solomon shares his attempts in this area. He tried every avenue to find meaning in life: wealth, pleasure, education, prestige, and work. But nothing under the sun satisfies.
Third, Solomon points out that life presents some troubling mysteries. The more Solomon searched for the meaning of life, the more he discovered that life is unfair, that human wisdom is insufficient for the task, and that death awaits everyone.
Fourth, despite the mysteries of life and the reality of death, Solomon says that we have to resolve to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. Eccl. 9:10a – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”
Finally, Solomon says that we should live life in a way that pleases God. Eccl. 11:9b – “Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.”