Christianity · encouragement · faith · life · religion

Worldly success not a guarantee for happiness

By all accounts he was a successful, popular, and notable plastic surgeon and the head of the plastic surgery department at his hospital in Bengaluru, India, but for some reason Dr. Ashok Raj Koul was distraught and unhappy. He drove home from work Monday, March 20, went to the 10th floor of his apartment building (his apartment was on the fifth floor), opened a window, and jumped to his death. The police are still at the beginning of their investigation, but have found no indication of why he would kill himself, especially when his family life with his wife and two kids appeared to be fine and his colleagues on his job have spoken highly of him as they expressed their total shock.

It’s commendable by human standards to be successful at the positive things we pursue in life. Nevertheless, success based on worldly measures will never be a guarantee of happiness when all is said and done. King Solomon found this out when he listed all of his successes in Ecclesiastes 2:4-11:

I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as 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.

10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.

Successful at agriculture, architecture, engineering, number of employees, wealth and investments, the latest musical hits, managing popular music bands, and fame, yet none of it brought Solomon happiness in the end. After rejoicing in it for a while, the rejoicing was only temporary. He ended up calling it “vanity and vexation of spirit.” His successes were bothersome to him. It led him to the conclusion there must be something else more important, more fulfilling that must transcend all of that to make life really worthwhile.

The emptiness he experienced focusing on earthly things drew him to the conclusion that focusing on a spiritual relationship with Elohim his Creator was the only thing that could ultimately satisfy him–

1Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth …

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12

The principle of  Solomon’s words were reiterated by the Lord Jesus himself when he stated,

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8

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