Why, after we taste the plates of all the pleasures the world serves up, we’re still hungry? Why do accomplishment and activity so often fail to quench our thirsty soul?
One of my favorite authors, Dr. Charles Swindoll, told of the life of Ernest Hemingway: “Ernest Hemingway lived a full life, or so it seemed. By age 19, he was decorated for heroism in World War I. His first novel, ‘The Sun Also Rises, ‘ was published when he was only 27. Hemingway’s lifetime itinerary looks like that of a diplomat – the US, Spain, France, China, Cuba. As a war correspondent during World War II, he was known not only for his writing ability but also for his courage in battle. He won the Pultizer Prize and the Nobel Prize. His virile, gutsy style of writing reflected the way he lived – with gusto. As a big game hunter, deep sea fisherman, and bullfighting enthusiast, Hemingway experienced enough danger and adventure for several lifetimes. But despite such a full life, the novelist was, in fact, unfulfilled. He drank heavily. He married 4 times. And after a long bout with depression, he took his own life in 1961. Ernest Hemingway guzzled down all this world had to offer. But in the end, it wasn’t enough.”
Hundreds of years before Hemingway, another “one who had it all” experienced the same thing. King Solomon recorded in Ecclesiastes that all is “vanity and a striving after the wind.” He pointed out the futility of trying to live and enjoy apart from God.
The Hebrew word for “vanity” refers to that which is “without real substance, value, permanence, significance, or meaning.” All things “under the sun,” all human endeavors performed independently of God, qualify as “vanity.”
God is our purpose. He is our meaning. He is the only worthy goal to pursue in the ebb and flow of this fleeting life. As we walk with God, we not only enjoy life but we prepare ourselves for eternity with Him.
“Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applied to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14)