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FROM AFFLUENZA TO SIMPLICITISFACTION

October 12, 2009 4 comments

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Last night I preached one of my new favorite sermons. It’s a sermon that takes a closer look at what is customarily viewed as the most depressing book in the Bible–Ecclesiastes. This sermon explores the few bright spots in Solomon’s search for fulfillment in a world full of stuff that doesn’t make any sense.

What sparked Solomon’s quest was his suffering from what people today are calling “affluenza” (a combination of the words “affluence” and “influenza”). What’s affluenza, you ask? Wikipedia cites this definition of it: “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.”

The half-preacher-half-philosopher Solomon tells of two life-changing insights he discovered on his quest for a meaningful life–two insights that helped him overcome his battle with affluenza.

  1. SIMPLE PLEASURES: Scattered throughout this otherwise depressing book are five carpe diem statements–five calls to receive life’s simple pleasures as gifts from God (2:24-25; 3:12-13; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7-9). In particular, he references the simple pleasures of food, work, and relationships.
  2. SIMPLE FAITH: Then at the very end of the book (12:13) he points out that the wholeness that stands in contrast to the emptiness that he’s talked so much about is found in fearing and obeying God. In other words, he asks us, “Do you want to fulfill your life? Then fulfill your humanity. Do what you have been created to do: fear and obey your creator.”

This two-fold approach to life has the power to change our perspective and change our lives for the better. If we will receive the gifts that God gives and the gift that God is, then we will be well on our way toward a life characterized by simplicity and satisfaction…or, to put more succinctly…a life infused with “simplicitisfaction.”

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