Summary: Don’t coast through life hoping that staying out of trouble and occasionally doing a good deed will be enough when it counts. Stop being a “casual Christian”, and start having a relationship with the God of the universe.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD
Ecclesiastes 2:1 – 11
What is the most important thing in the world? The scripture I just read was written by Solomon, who was the richest, wisest, and most influential king of Israel. If you were paying attention, you heard Solomon say that he had it all – luxurious homes, beautiful gardens and orchards, slaves to wait on him hand and foot, all the silver and gold he could hope for, any woman he wanted on his arm, and parties all the time. I guess Solomon was the original rock star. But Solomon said one more thing that we shouldn’t miss. In verse 11 he said, “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless – like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” How sad is that? The mightiest king of Israel had anything he wanted at his disposal, but none of it mattered.
Let’s fast forward a thousand years. Jesus is standing there, speaking to the crowds that had gathered to hear him. The Bible says, “Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, “What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.” Then he said, “I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” (Luke 12:13 – 19)
I have often wondered if Jesus had Solomon in mind as he told this story. God had certainly blessed this man with everything that he thought he needed. He had enough to live on for a very long time and wouldn’t have to work anymore. But he didn’t have the most important thing – the one thing that he truly needed.
Let me stop right there for a moment. I have heard people criticize the man in this story because he was rich. But there is nothing wrong with being rich, especially if we use our wealth to help others and glorify God. It’s true that the man appears to be somewhat selfish…it looks like he is only thinking about himself. He wants to store up all his wealth so that HE can live a life of ease. But there is more to this story.
Nothing is said about this man committing adultery. We have no indication that he ever stole anything. He is not described as being cruel to others or to harming anyone else’s reputation. Maybe he went to the synagogue every Sabbath. Maybe he put money in the offering box at the temple. He may have even put a coin or two in a beggar’s cup every now and then.