Summary: Why am I here? You need a better answer to that question than just a "Why not?" This sermon examines places people have been looking for fulfillment for 3,000 years, to see if it can be found. *HANDOUT INCLUDED*

Answering Life’s Great Questions - Sermon #1

Where Can I Find Fulfillment?

While I don’t own a television myself, I remember being in a doctors office once, and a football game was on. One guy ran the ball and was tackled – the ball came loose on the 5 yard-line. A guy for the Jets scooped it up and ran like crazy, 95 yards for the touchdown. He was going crazy in the end zone, jumping up and down. . . until he discovered none of his teammates were celebrating. The guy who fumbled the ball, the ref had ruled, touched the ground first. Just when he thought he had success, he found out that it didn’t count.

As you look around, you’ll find people that are like that: They’ve finally got their dream, only to find out that it doesn’t count for fulfillment – it doesn’t count for satisfaction.

Someone said it like this: Many people spend their whole life climbing the ladder of success, only to find out it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

The book I’m reading from today is called Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes was written by a man named Solomon about 3,000 years ago.

Ecclesiastes is the story of Solomon’s search to find fulfillment in the world.

I’ve found that every person is trying to answer (whether consciously or unconsciously, the Great Questions of life:

- Who am I?

- Why am I here?

- Where am I going?

I like the story of the college philosophy class. It was the day of the final exam; the professor walks in and says, “For your final, there’s only one question: WHY?” The students immediately started writing as fast as they could, trying to convince the teacher they knew what they were talking about. The only person who received 100% was a young man who wrote on his paper these two words: “WHY NOT?”

That’s funny, but it’s not very satisfying! We need answers about the great questions of life.

Here’s the premise of my message this morning. Instead of calling this book Ecclesiastes, we could call it “Darrell Stetler’s search” or “Kevin’s Search”. . . or you could put your name in there. All of us are writing the story of our search for fulfillment. When your life is over, what will your story say you tried to find fulfillment in? Will the story tell that you found it, or that you wandered your whole life and never found what you were seeking?

Let’s read from Ecclesiastes 1:12-14.

Ec 1:12 ¶ I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.

14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

The key word in this book is the word “vanity”. It means “empty” or “meaningless”.

I want to look for a few minutes at the things that Solomon tried to find fulfillment in.(and people TODAY try to find fulfillment in – apparently they don’t realize that someone else tried it 3,000 years ago.)

I. Fulfillment through education and wisdom.

V. 1:16 “I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge."

Solomon became the wisest man who ever lived. He studied and learned, and studied some more. Did it bring him satisfaction? Let’s look:

It made him more sad:

Ecclesiastes 1:18 “For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”

It didn’t make him any different in the end:

Ec 2:15 So I said in my heart, "As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, "This also is vanity."

16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

II.Fulfillment through riches.

Ec 2:8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.

9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.

Solomon owned (among other things) 1,400 chariots, and 12,000 horses. In today’s world, that means

2:10 He was denied nothing his eye desired.

Did riches fulfill Solomon? Let’s check:

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Jeremy Fuller

commented on Nov 13, 2011

Darrel, excellent sermon presented like a Stetler. God Bless you and your ministry. - Jeremy Fuller

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