Who Am I? Don't Look At Me

Think about five or six things that describe you.
 
Think back over them and ask yourself, “What really determines who I am and what do I look to for self-worth? Are the things I thought of really what defines me?”
 
 “Who Am I” - “Don’t Look at Me”
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, 12:13-14
Do my actions define me?
 
You’re more than what you like.
 
What do you really enjoy doing?
 
If you could not do that thing, how would you feel?
 
When have you done something that you thought was going to satisfy you but in the end it really didn’t?
 
Ecclesiastes 2:1-3
I said to myself, “Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure and enjoy what is good.” But it turned out to be futile. I said about laughter, “It is madness,” and about pleasure, “What does this accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to let my body enjoy life with wine and how to grasp folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.
 
The teacher (who we believe to be Solomon) tried a lot of things in his pursuit of enjoyment and pleasure.
 
He explored things like drinking, laughter, entertainment, women, wealth, and pleasure in a sincere quest to determine whether these things could give life meaning and purpose. 
    
After trying it all, he reached the conclusion that pleasure doesn’t make life worthwhile.
     
What do you seek to feel good about yourself?
     
Enjoying amusements and pleasure isn’t necessarily bad. The satisfaction we get from doing things we enjoy is a gift from God that makes life richer and more rewarding.
 
Yet the pursuit of pleasure alone does not bring fulfillment in life. What we do for enjoyment does not define who we are or what we are worth.
 
You’re more than what you do.
 
Have you done something or accomplished something that gave you a sense of worth?
 
Ecclesiastes 2:4-11
 I increased my achievements. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made gardens and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them. I constructed reservoirs of water for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees. I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house. I also owned many herds of cattle and flocks, more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.  I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I gathered male and female singers for myself, and many concubines, the delights of men. Thus, I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; my wisdom also remained with me.  All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles. When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.
 
If we wanted to pick a prototype of a world leader from history who exemplified success, no one would prove better qualified than King Solomon. He set out to achieve great things. With slaves to perform the labor at his command, he directed projects for building houses and planting great gardens. Solomon demonstrated his technical skills with impressive feats of engineering, which included aqueducts and other waterworks.  He was successful in business, had incomparable, gold and silver, slaves, concubines, and his own personal choir.
    
All Solomon’s hard work and his many achievements were not without reward (v. 10). He received fame, wealth, and likely a measure of personal satisfaction as fruit for his efforts.
 
Still, neither the accomplishments themselves nor the rewards they brought gave him lasting fulfillment. In the end, he felt his accomplishments were futile—meaningless and empty.
 
Sometimes we think accomplishing great things defines who we are. Sometimes we even think our value is tied to the work we do for God. We try to earn God’s favor or prove ourselves worthy of His love. Serving God is the right thing for believers to do. But doing those things to try to prove our value is the wrong reason for doing them.
 
Our identity should come from being in a relationship with God, not in doing things for Him.
 
Find your real value in God.
 
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.
 
Only God can give your life worth and meaning.
 
Solomon concluded that only a relationship of obedience to God gives meaning and purpose to life. Other pursuits provide fleeting satisfaction. Their rewards are temporary and ultimately, empty. The way we relate to God, however, has eternal consequences.
    
After this life, every person will stand before God in judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Those who have rejected Jesus as their Savior will receive judgment for their sins, resulting in eternal separation from God.
 
Those who have received forgiveness for their sins by trusting Jesus as their Savior will also be judged, not for their sins but by their works as believers. They will be rewarded in heaven accordingly (2 Cor. 5:9-10).
 
Knowing that we will eventually face judgment should motivate us to make having a right relationship with God our first priority.   
 
Our value lies not in what we do but in who we are–children of God made for the purpose of knowing and obeying Him.
 
This week take time to look at your actions and see if you are doing any of them in order to find, discover, or affirm your worth.
 
“The last and final word: FEAR GOD. Do what He tells you and that’s it.” Ecc. 12:13-14 MSG