According to Proverbs 17:24, your goal in life is a great indicator regarding whether or not you are a fool. The verse says, “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of the fool are on the ends of the earth” (ESV).
I can’t help but think of Alexander the Great. Here was a man with his eyes on the ends of the earth. He wanted to rule the world and he came pretty close to succeeding, closer than anyone else before him. However, he was a fool. Certainly, he is one of the few men remembered throughout history. His folly is not about military prowess, place in history, or worldly success. His folly is about his soul. What good did world conquest do him? Will being one of the greatest military victors of all time make his eternal damnation any more tolerable? He set his eyes on the ends of the earth, but he was a fool because he missed heaven.
I highly doubt any of us have our eyes set on being ruler of the known world. Yet, do we make the same mistake? Is our biggest goal for the next year getting the promotion at work? Is our biggest goal increasing our portfolio? Is our biggest goal being famous or rich? If so, we may not be trying to conquer the world, but our eyes are set on the ends of the earth. We are looking for fulfillment and meaning from the earth and the things of the earth. If this is us, we are fools.
Instead of seeking these things, we need to seek wisdom. We need to seek true knowledge and proper application of it to life. It may be that because we are wise, God blesses us with material blessings. Then again, He may not. That is really up to Him. However, if we seek wisdom, we’ll gain eternity. Just as Alexander’s great success will not make his eternal damnation any more tolerable, we need to recognize that if we live out our days as struggling paupers but gain wisdom, it will not remotely mar our eternal bliss in heaven.
How do we start this journey toward wisdom and eternal joy? Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (ESV). Be discerning. Fear the Lord; get to know the Holy One. Maybe you won’t achieve the ends of the earth, but you will receive heaven. I think it’s worth it.