How many spend their whole life acquiring or accomplishing things, never stopping to realize what they lost to get what they gained?
Judas Iscariot was the purse keeper of the twelve disciples. When Mary broke the alabaster box and anointed Jesus he was more concerned about the money being wasted than the sacrifice she made to glorify Jesus. Judas skimmed and pocketed a portion of all the money that passed through his hands. Money and greed governed his life, it ruled his choices and his decisions. None of us choose to identify with Judas because he betrayed Jesus, but if money or work controls our life, then like it or not, we have a little bit of Judas in us. Work is a necessity, but what pushes us to work and drives us is where the rubber meets the road. Luxury, perfectionism and status are a few motives other than greed.
I love the book of Ecclesiastes, it has so much wisdom with practical answers, conclusions and outcomes to the choices of life.
King Solomon was rich, everything was at his beckon call, yet it wasn’t enough. Solomon said, “I made me great works.” The Bible says he built an empire. He built houses, planted vineyards, gardens, orchards, groves of wood, cattle of all kinds and he made pools (reservoirs) of water to keep these things alive and growing. He had servants, singers, musicians and plenty of silver and gold! He owned mansions and had vacation homes in the mountains and by the ocean. In modern terms, "he was the man." Thankfully, God allowed him to keep his wisdom, I think that was for our benefit.
Solomon writes that he tried everything under the sun (literally) to see where true happiness was found. In time he learned that folly (a good time) and things (possessions) could only make you happy for a little while. They are temporal. Solomon writes that even wisdom wasn’t enough to make him happy and content for a lifetime. He says that a wise man dies the same way a fool. You leave it all behind. Only our good name remains. But honestly, that’s fleeting, people move on and will forget about you except for your family and if you’ve sacrificed your family for the selfishness of your heart is that worth it? What memories will they have?
While the labor of working brings a fulfillment to life it doesn’t bring joy. Joy is found in a life of personal fellowship with God. We can learn from Solomon and apply the use of Godly wisdom. Listen to what he says time and time again after trying and testing something new……”Therefore I hated life because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous to me, for all is vanity(emptiness) and vexation(curse) of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 2:17 Here’s the recipe for happiness, ”Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God (respect his holiness), and keep his commandments(live a life that pleases God), for this is the whole duty(responsibility) of man. For God shall bring every work (our heart’s deeds) into judgement and every secret thing (what we keep hidden) whether it be good or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13
A relationship with Christ is more satisfying than foolishness and folly.
Your folly may look different than mine, your idea of a happiness in life may look different than mine, and your job may look different than mine. Your earthly wisdom (decisions making) may be different than mine because we are all called to different things and our desires create different paths for our lives, but true Joy? That’s the same, because it is found in Christ alone. Jesus is our true Joy. The joy of our salvation comes from time we spend with him. Although Judas was a disciple of Christ, he really didn’t know Him. He was busy building his own kingdom. You can work your whole life, buy lots of things, have lots of toys, travel, meet people of wealth and culture, set yourself in a position of prominence and yet if you never know Jesus, you lose. Even as Christians, if we do these things, or covet people who have these things, if we loose our focus, we loose, it’s a life of loss. Allow the mistakes of Judas to be a life lesson, don’t let greed or covetousness (jealousy of what others have), or the desire to obtain fame, fortune, or status cost you. It cost Judas his life, his friendship with Jesus, and his eternity. Choose wisely.