We rush along. A year ends, and a new year dawns. But how many more, for us? There is no guarantee for any of us. And there are too few that ask the important questions: "What am I here for? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is beyond this life?" The Scriptures exhort us, "So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom" (Psa. 90:12). In this hurry-up world of meterialism even the ending of a year should make us aware of the impending close of our earthly life: "It is appointed unto men once to die...The living know that they shall die" (Heb. 9:27; Eccl. 9:5).

Of our earthly life, the apostle wrote, "What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (Jas. 4:14). As 2007 draws to a close, we should be reminded that the flowers that bloomed last Spring are now faded and gone. We live but a short time, then our "December" arrives. And life ends. We cannot live 2007 over again, but we can "get us a heart of wisdom," and find purpose and happiness in 2008. King Solomon, the richest man on earth in his time, wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, which records his search for purpose and happiness. Let us see what God had him write about purpose and happiness:

Happiness Is Not Found In Material Riches: -- Stocks and bonds, 401 (k's), IRA's, real estate, bank accounts and annuities will not guarantee happiness. The rich man wrote, "I gathered me also silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I gat me men-singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me...and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun" (Eccl. 2:8,9,11). What happiness did Judas find with his thirty pieces of silver? Or Achan, with his wedge of gold? Or the hoarded portion of the sale by Ananias and Sapphira? Yes, many have coveted wealth, and "pierced themselves through with many sorrows" as the apostle Paul wrote (1 Tim. 6:10).

Happiness Is Not Found In Dominant Power: -- Solomon was the most powerful king on earth. But he wrote, "And I hated all my labor wherein I labored under the sun, seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity" (Eccl. 2:18,19).

Happiness Is Not Found In Worldly Pleasure: -- Many avidly seek happiness in the giddy whirl of pleasure and social intertainment. But Solomon wrote, "I said in my heart, Come now, I will prove thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it?" (Eccl. 2:1,2). Often Solomon said: "All is vanity under the sun."

Happiness Is Found Only In Obedience To God: -- When he came to the end of his search, Solomon wrote, "This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this the whole duty of man" (Eccl. 12: 13). Until we have confidence, from His Word, that we have obeyed our God, we cannot know true happiness. Go back and read those beatitudes in Matt. 5:1-12; there is the basis of true happiness! "Blessed" can be translated "Happy" in every instance. If you truly want a Happy New Year in 2008, then allow God to make it that by fully obeying Him.

By Clem Thurman in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 56, No. 52, Dec. 26, 2007.

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