The Fullest Life Possible

Michael Beck

“And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-12)

Much of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s musings on how one can make the best of life in this world of frustrations and disappointment. What Solomon had devoted his life to most of all had been a knowledge of man’s life here on the earth. But alas, even this, which he found to be a worthy pursuit and beneficial to others, at last became a “weariness of the flesh.” And so he reached a final “conclusion.”

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl. 12:13)

This is the conclusion of a weary man. It is stated simply without much relish. It is looked upon as a duty, not a delight. What a contrast to Christ’s statement as to what constituted “life.”

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

The quest of Solomon ended with sad regret. At last, he knew there had been a better path, that he himself had failed to take. But Jesus came to the end of His earthly sojourn having tasted and seen that the Lord was good. Satan’s taking Him up to the exceeding high mountain was meant to promote dissatisfaction in His spirit: “Look how far you are from all the excitement occurring right now in the world. You’re missing out! But if you bow down to me, I will get you closer – I will show you more. You will no longer be an outsider looking in. You will possess a richer, fuller, more exciting life.”

But Jesus refused this offer, and chose a far better life – the kind of life Moses experienced on another Mount alone with God. He chose a different adventure to pursue, a different intimacy, not with the world, but one where he communed with God “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (Ex. 33:11)

A life lived of, by, for and with God is the richest, fullest life a man can possibly live in this world. Solomon’s quest proved unprofitable. “… But godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8) Jesus discovered what Solomon did not. He indeed was a greater one than Solomon, in more ways than one.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.