Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:11
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
People have personal preferences regarding what things brings them joy and what gives them happiness.
One of the amazing truths of life is this: most people are willing to expend any effort and risk almost anything in achieving their individual and elusive happiness goals.
I say that this goal is individual because happiness is different things to different people. For some of us happiness is the acquiring of a large fortune; for others, happiness is partying or staying up all night. Of course, there are those who simply think happiness can be spelled f-a-m-e.
Solomon directed his quest for happiness like a scientific experiment.
First, he set his mind toward the finding of pure happiness. That goal had him filling his mind with knowledge, constructing great buildings, buying slaves, cattle and, generally, acquiring a great fortune.
When none of those things gave him the happiness he craved, he added many women to his harem.
Having done all this, Solomon felt like a happiness-failure. He confessed: "I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11).
Some of the pleasures Solomon pursued were wrong, and some had worth. Even so, happiness is fleeting and foolish unless it is based on an individual seeking first the Kingdom of God -- unless an individual has the one thing which is needful.
And what is that one "thing" needful?
Mary of Bethany knew. She allowed the Holy Spirit to bring her closer to the Savior. There, listening to Jesus, she found herself being given a longer, lasting happiness than she could ever have imagined. She knew: being close to Jesus, being close to Him who has given His life to give us life, who carried our sins so we might be forgiven -- there is true happiness.
THE PRAYER: God of Love, I rejoice in knowing You and being brought to the joy and happiness that the world cannot know. I thank You and praise You in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: The devotion for today was written by the Rev. David Rodríguez, pastor of Christ The King Lutheran Church, in Guatemala. Operating as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones (CPTLN), LHM-Guatemala has been based in Guatemala City since 1993. It utilizes Project JOEL, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), Equipping the Saints (ETS) and a young theater group, Kerigma, to spread the Gospel.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries