Last week, my brother and I went to the Indianapolis 500.
At the start of the race, one of the announcers said, “Today, one of these 33 drivers will do something that no one will ever forget. They will win the Indy 500!”
So, who won? Do you know?
OK, maybe you are not a sports fan, so here are some different questions. Who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979? Who won the Oscar for best actress in 1940? Who was the King of France in 1744?
When I asked those questions on Sunday morning, no one came up with the correct responses. (Just in case you are curious, the answers are: Simon Pagenaud and Jimmy Carter, Vivien Leigh, and Louis the XV).
Fame is fleeting. What seems important right now will lose its luster. Eventually, our biggest successes will be forgotten.
King Solomon understood that truth. He was one of the most powerful and wealthy people of his day, yet when he surveyed all he accumulated and had accomplished, he summarized it with one word: Meaningless.
“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). In other words, you can spend your whole life running after material success only to find that it does not make your happy anyway. We are never satisfied. As the old saying goes, “Much wants more!”
We need a different goal.
When Jesus walked the earth, his goal was to point others to God and glorify him (John 17:1). Paul encouraged the church in Corinth, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Peter wrote, “Live such good lives… [that others] may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
Do you see the shift? Instead of shining the spotlight on myself, I am supposed to underline and highlight God’s goodness. Rather than chasing accolades that will not last, I should focus on eternal rewards (Matthew 6:19-24). Instead of hoarding what I have, maybe I should share and bless others.
Earthly success comes and goes. Real joy is found when we live for something bigger than ourselves.
“Glorify the Lord with me” (Psalm 34:2).