* Attitudes more important than accomplishment
Fifty years after its destruction, the Temple was being rebuilt (536 B.C.). Some of the older people remembered Solomon’s Temple, and they wept because the new Temple would not be as glorious as the first one. But the beauty of the building was not nearly as important to God as were the attitudes of the builders and worshipers. God cares more about who we are than what we accomplish. Our world is always changing, and once-magnificent accomplishments decay and disappear. Seek to serve God wholeheartedly. Then you won’t need to compare your work with anyone else’s. (NLT)
Ezra 3:12 – Many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders remembered the first Temple, and they wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy.
* Don’t look for meaning in accomplishments
Solomon had a purpose for writing skeptically and pessimistically. Near the end of his life, he looked back over everything he had done, and most of it seemed meaningless. A common belief was that only good people prospered and that only the wicked suffered, but that hadn’t proven true in his experience. Solomon wrote this book after he had tried everything and achieved much, only to find that nothing apart from God made him happy. He wanted his readers to avoid these same senseless pursuits. If we try to find meaning in our accomplishments rather than in God, we will never be satisfied, and everything we pursue will become meaningless. (NLT)
Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 – These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. “Everything is meaningless,: says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless!”
What do people get for all their hard work? Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn’t already exist long ago? We don’t remember what happened in those former times. And in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
* Accomplishments evaporate quickly
Solomon’s kingdom, Israel, was in its golden age, but Solomon wanted the people to understand that success and prosperity don’t last long. All human accomplishments will one day disappear, and we must keep this in mind in order to live wisely. If we don’t, we will become either proud and self-sufficient when we succeed or sorely disappointed when we fail. Solomon’s goal was to show the earthly possessions and accomplishments are ultimately meaningless. Only the pursuit of God brings real satisfaction. We should honor God in all we say, think, and do. (NLT)
Ecclesiastes 1:2 – “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless!”
* Accomplishments cannot earn salvation
At first glance, it looks like Paul is boasting about his achievements. But he is actually doing the opposite,, showing that human achievements, no matter how impressive, cannot earn a person salvation and eternal life with God. Paul had impressive credentials: upbringing, nationality, family background, inheritance, orthodoxy, activity, and morality. However, his conversion to faith in Christ wasn’t based on what he had done but on God’s grace. Paul did not depend on his deeds to please God, because even the most impressive credentials fall short of God’s holy standards. Are you depending on Christian parents, church affiliation, or just being good to make you right with God? Credentials, accomplishments, or reputation cannot earn salvation. Salvation comes only through faith in Christ. (NLT)
Philippians 3:4-6 – Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! For I was circumcised when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What’s more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.
* Don’t base your self-worth on accomplishments
People often base their self-concept on their accomplishments. But our relationship with Christ is far more important than our jobs, successes, wealth, or knowledge. We have been chosen by God as his very own, and we have been called to represent him to others. Remember that you value comes from being one of god’s children, not from what you can achieve. You have worth because of what God does, not because of what you do. (NLT)
1 Peter 2:9-10 – But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his very own possession. This so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you were not a people; now you are the people of God. Once you received none of God’s mercy; now you have received his mercy.”
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