March 14, 2019 ● 19-18
Ecc 1:17: And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.
Ecc. 2:11: Thus I considered all my activities which my hand and done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Micah 6:8: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Acts 20:24: But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
It was an ill-fated expedition that began in Mexico and ended up in failure in what is now the state of Kansas. Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led an expedition into what is now New Mexico in search of the famed Seven Cities of Cebola. In 1539, Friar Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan priest, reported to Spanish officials in Mexico City that he’d seen this legendary city, “a very beautiful city”, named Cibola. When Coronado arrived in the area of the fabled city in 1541, all his expedition found was a simple adobe structure. Instead of turning back, Coronado’s expedition pushed further north for months before abandoning the search in what is now the state of Kansas1.
A search for gold and fame ended in complete failure. Roughly two thousand years earlier, Solomon, the son of King David, wrote a book about a search as well. This book, the Book of Ecclesiastes, is a book of wisdom about Solomon’s search, not for a golden city, but for the meaning of life. Solomon was the wisest and richest man in the world (1 Kings 3:6-14; 4:29-34). And yet for all his wisdom and wealth, Solomon, towards the end of his life, looked at life and proclaimed, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecc. 1:2) In Ecc. 2:1-11, Solomon stated he explored life for meaning including indulging in alcohol; he experienced life through possessions, wealth, and work; he lived to excesses in life, he withheld nothing from his life; and then he stepped back and examined all he had done. Solomon would later come to a sobering conclusion: life apart from God has no meaning (Ecc. 12:13).
There is a great treat that is unique to the city of New Orleans – the beignet (pronounced ‘ben-yay’). The beignet is a fried square donut topped with confectioner’s sugar and they are great! But here’s something interesting – beignets are hollow on the inside! They are appealing on the outside but hollow on the inside. Solomon looked at the appeal of life, of everything life had to offer, but discovered that apart from God, life was hollow on the inside.
You don’t have to search very far to find meaning in life, it is found through a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The cross and the empty tomb put meaning and purpose to life.
Here is but a brief example of Scriptures that demonstrate the purpose of life for which we have been called:
To know God through a relationship with Jesus Christ (John 3:16 / 1 Tim. 2:3-4);
To help others come to know God through Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19);
To imitate God and walk in love (Eph. 5:1-2);
To receive a blessing and be a blessing in the lives of others (1 Pet. 3:8-9)
I want to encourage you to allow God’s Word to equip you to live with purpose through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Read and meditate on these verses of Scripture that will help put life into clear focus:
Prov. 23:29-35 / Matt. 22:37 / Mark 8:36-37; 10:17-22 / 1 Cor. 12:1-31 / 2 Tim. 1:8-9
1 “Seven cities of Cibola” by Willie Drye (www.nationalgeographic.com/archeology-and-history, internet accessed Mar. 14, 2019).