We can learn ten stellar things from Solomon’s boneheadedness.
1. Don’t play with fire and expect not to get burned. Solomon’s dad actually said that (Prov. 6:27,28). This sounds obvious, but how many times do we take dumb risks or make compromises and think that we’re above the rules, that we can beat the odds? Um, all the time.
2. Don’t expect stupid things to mean anything. Meaning comes from a combination of the four things Solomon missed (see below). Again, though, we do this all the time. New car. New house. New toys, new husband, new church… It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, folks. And no, smelling the new coffee is not the solution.
3. Don’t do things in isolation and expect them to fulfill you. All of life’s essential elements breathe life into the other; my relationship with God breathes life into community; community creates context for service and impact; impact gives vision an outlet, vision focuses my relationship with God, community humanizes my vision, impact keeps community from turning in on itself… see?
4. Don’t forget to pray —LOTS — as you search for fulfillment. Don’t forget where wisdom comes from (hint: It ain’t from within you). Wisdom and intelligence are not synonymous, and can in fact be entirely separate things. “Lean not on your own understanding…” – Solomon’s dad said that too. I guess Solomon was too busy shooting hoops that day or rolling his eyes at his dad’s old fashioned view of life to get the point. Let’s make sure we aren’t. God is the wise one and he’s willing to share.
5. Don’t forget to explore God. Jesus is the final frontier! Loving him and walking with him is the point of all points. Don’t miss it.
6. Don’t forget to explore community. We’re made with a need to connect and invest in people in meaningful ways. You need a close group of people who are willing to tell you the truth and hug you like they mean it. And bring you baking.
7. Don’t forget to live with eternal purpose. God has a plan for your life. You’ve heard that before, right? A hundred times? Yeah? So are you living like it? What are your actual priorities? Where is your time going? Do you stave off this discussion with, “Well, this is just a busy season of life. When I get the promotion, I’ll…” Yeah, right.
8. Fulfillment is a byproduct, not a goal. Actually, searching for fulfillment keeps you from it. You did know that, didn’t you?
9. Don’t think the rules don’t apply to you. Wow, that’s huge. And easy to rationalize away. And why not? My situation is unique, and anyway, God would understand…
10. Don’t forget to give yourself away to others. That’s what Jesus did. That’s what God does. That’s what Christians do. And that’s what makes for a great life.
See, the problem is, as dumb as Solomon was, we can fall into exactly the same stupid garbage, think the same tiny thoughts, get into the same silly ruts, blind ourselves to the same simple truths. So I did give him a bit of a hard time. But that’s all I have to say about that.