Empty Promises


trans amVery soon my eldest daughter will be a licensed driver. It started me thinking back to when I was her age. From middle school on, I had this obsession with a car. Yes a car, a Trans-Am to be exact.  I wanted one. It was my dream car! Every time we would see one I would tell my parents, “When I get old enough to drive, that is the car I am going to have.” Of course they just laughed at me in my adolescent ignorance. They would humor me and say, ugh huh!

Well when I was old enough to drive my parents did buy me a car. It wasn’t quite my dream car, but it was a car none the less. It was an older Toyota Corolla and in lovely shade of Rusty Orange. My parents were far from rich and at this point I had matured a wee bit and was grateful just to have a means of transportation of my own.  I had been working at a local restaurant so at least I could afford the gas and insurance to drive the car.

My senior year of high school, my dad came home one day and told me that our neighbor friend just bought a Trans Am and was willing to let us take it for a spin if we would like. My dad dangled the keys in front of me and of course my reaction was, “Really? Well Yeah, Let’s Go I said.” I thought the car was A-mazing!  It wasn’t new, but it was everything else I wanted. It was Candy Apple red with tee-tops and fast as lightning!

When we finished taking the car out for our little joy ride, I parked and handed my dad back the keys and remarked, someday.  My dad had escorted me around to the front of the car and pointed to the place where the license plate usually goes. There written on a plastic plate in magic marker was my name. I kinda tilted my head in confusion and looked at my dad and he handed me the keys back and said, it’s yours.

Well as you can imagine, I was ecstatic. I jumped up and down and knew at that point that I had the best parents ever! My dad had explained that he had placed a bid on it from a repossession auction, and never imagined he would get it, but he did. I literally couldn’t contain my excitement, I finally had my dream car.

Well after some time I was finding out the hard way that my “dream car” was turning out to be not such a dream after all.  Because the car had a V-8 engine, it literally sucked gas faster than I could pump it.  What soon became another issue was the icy snowy Chicago winters which were fierce. Driving in less than perfect conditions in the wintertime was always inevitable. What was good for a burn-out on the pavement, was not so good in the snow, the traction was horrible. The car was all over the place and was down right scary to drive on those slick snowy roads. Yes my once, I will be happy when it’s mine . . . now came crashing down to reality.

The reason I tell this story is because just yesterday I was reading the book of Ecclesiastes and once again thought of my red Trans-am.  I was reminded of King Solomon, one of the richest, wisest and most influential person who ever lived.  This is the man who had great wisdom and who tried to indulge in everything that He thought would make him happy. And what was his conclusion? All was meaningless . . . . yes, it was all meaningless under the sun. Solomon coined it as this, “like chasing after the wind.”

It reminds me of how so many people today seek after fulfillment in things, accomplishments, education, jobs or even finding the right person. Thinking that these things will bring them happiness and fulfillment, they spend their life away in pursuit of them. There are some that do attain these things only to find out that in and of themselves, are not fulfilling.  They end up losing their life in the process and don’t even have the time to enjoy their things.  King Solomon had it all, he tried it all and concluded . . .  it is all meaningless!

Just like my adolescent foolishness, thinking that car would make me happy, it was a lie.  So often we buy into the great lie of the world.  The lie that Hollywood and media is always trying to convince us of.  The big . . . If only . . . If only we could only have this or that, a bigger house, a faster car, more money, a better job, a better physique or perhaps a better spouse . . . then and only then we will be truly happy! Well my friend, King Solomon can tell you, it’s the biggest lie ever! The ruler of this world was a liar from the very beginning and he continues to deceive millions with empty promises.

So where then do we look to find fulfillment in this life? We find it in the truth of God’s Word.  God created us in his image  and made us for himself. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says that . . . God has placed eternity in the heart of man.  That longing for eternity is what creates the longing in our hearts.  It’s that longing for more, for purpose, for fulfillment and so often we seek that fulfillment outside of God.  Like Solomon says, apart from God it is all empty, hollow and meaningless.  Apart from God we will never have fulfillment in this lifetime. God created each of us for a purpose and has a plan for each one of us. In Ephesians 2:10 it says . . . For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

God wants us to find our purpose in Him, by knowing him and by doing the work that he gives us to do. In Ecclesiastes 3:13 it says that . . . And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. We can gain true satisfaction from our work when we know that what we are doing is part of God’s plan for our life.  We have no certainties in this life other than death itself and in order to find our purpose, we must learn to look at temporal things in light of the Eternal things.

Solomon’s purpose was to draw us closer to God by showing us that our true purpose and meaning can only be found “In Him,” a relationship with the Eternal God. Solomon concludes in chapter 12 verse 13, “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.” When we put or hope and trust in God and seek him above all else, this is where we will find purpose, meaning and true fulfillment. God stands good on his Word, and that’s a promise we can say Yes and Amen to!

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