"That's right, woodchuck-chuckers — it's ... Groundhog Day!" You may or may not recognize that line from the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day." And if you don't live in the United States, you may not even know that February 2 is Groundhog Day, the day when the superstitious look to a small mammal to determine how soon spring will arrive.

In the movie, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is trapped in a 24-hour time period that seems to repeat itself endlessly. Nothing he does allows him to move forward with his life.

Once Connors realizes what is going on, he gives himself over to pleasure: gratuitous sex, crime, and selfishly trying to woo Andie MacDowell's character. Eventually he learns that all of this leaves him empty inside, and Murray begins to find ways to better himself and serve others. This being Hollywood, Connors eventually ends up with the girl, and they set off to live happily ever after, beyond Groundhog Day.

Phil Connors' quest reminds me of one we find in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes. This writer, a king, tells of some of the things in which he sought fulfillment:

  • a quest for knowledge
  • dedication to pleasure
  • possessions
  • commitment to work
  • rivalry with others
  • political power
  • unrivaled riches
  • children
  • long life
  • food and drink

It's Groundhog Day!
In the end, he admits that none of these brought lasting pleasure. It was all, in his words, "a chasing after the wind." He only found one thing that could give him the sense of meaning that he sought:

"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Some of us feel like Phil Connors, trapped in an endless routine. All of our attempts to find purpose and meaning in life leave us right back where we started. In the end, most of us learn what he learned on Groundhog Day: happiness begins with looking outside ourselves.

But I want you to know that your journey isn't complete until you learn what the writer of Ecclesiastes learned, all those centuries ago: only by basing our lives on God and His teachings can we be truly fulfilled.

So this Groundhog Day, don't let your life continue to be a series of meaningless days. Look to God, and let Him fill your life with a sense of purpose. To find out more about how that works, contact me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org or visit our www.hopeforlife.org web site.

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