Abundant Living Vol. XX, Issue 15

“. . . give thanks in all circumstances.”  – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 

True or false:  the one who dies with the most toys wins.  Or how about the one who has the most money wins?  What about the one who is the most brilliant and has the most advanced degrees, or the one who has reached the highest level in his or her organization or profession, the one who has traveled the most, has the most beautiful wife or debonair husband, the best athlete, the most talented artist or musician, has won the most awards, become the most famous or the most powerful?  In the end who wins?  The answer, of course, is false.  But if it is none of these great successes, who does win?

A man who wrestled mightily with this question was none other than King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived, and though he had everything and tried almost everything both good and bad, toward the end of his life came to the conclusion that nothing – I mean nothing – on this earth can fully satisfy a human’s desire for complete fulfillment.  “Meaningless! . . . Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless . . . a chasing after the wind,” he declared in his essay we know as the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Alcoholics, they say, are not people who drink too much; rather people who can never drink enough.  Their thirst for alcohol – their addiction – can never be satisfied.  So it is with every earthly desire, as Solomon declares, no matter how much we have it is never enough.  Our thirst – our desire for fulfillment – is never satisfied.

I think I can identify with that, what Solomon wrestled with.  While I am far from being wealthy and wise like the great king, I have certainly had my share of good fortune at times.  But it has never been enough, often leaving me with a desire for more.  Yet, like the alcoholic, even when I manage to attain more it never seems to be enough.

So, in the end who really does win?  Recently we were asked to pick up one of our granddaughters from school, as we are sometimes called upon to do, after which we treated her to ice cream, then just hung out for a while.  It was an absolutely delightful spring day.  At some point it came over me during that brief time, what a blessed man I am.  It was a taste of what it feels like to truly win at life.  As the scriptures say, “give thanks in all circumstances,” I learned that day; for in the end, that is who wins.

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