So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me.
All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind (Eccl.2:17).
Most of us are not content to live a life of
meaninglessness. We have that which we want to do, and that which we must, and in all we
try to find a sense of purpose in all of our efforts. None of us want to reach our final
days only to look back in disappointment and regret. We hope, instead , to look back at a
life that was full and purposeful--a life full of accomplishment that will mean something
to others even after we have passed on.
Where each of us finds a sense of purposeful living is sure to differ from one person to
the next, yet we still cannot escape the need to attach meaning to our lives, and purpose
to our efforts. We are sure to meet up with some people who would truly find a lacking of
purpose in their lives, yet that is a concept too painful to face, and so they go on day
to day and simply ignore the possibilities that their lives are like a chasing after the
The writer of Ecclesiastes explains:
Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave
it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise [man]
or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein
I have showed myself wise under the sun. This [is] also vanity. Therefore I went about to
cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. For there is a man
whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not
laboured therein shall he leave it [for] his portion. This also [is] vanity and a great
This is the picture of a man who sees his efforts as
futile and his work as vanity. He despairs in that he sees that in the end, all of his
work will seem to mean nothing. It will be forgotten, and what it produced will be
consumed by those left behind, and even with them it will soon vanish.
We consider the day we will look back and wonder what we have to show for all of our
work--all of our "toil under the sun." Seldom do we measure such and event in
dollar signs, business conquests or scholastic degrees. But we hope instead to see things
that are more lasting, such as the lasting impressions we made in the lives of family
members, or the lasting influence we might have been to someone who needed a good
Christian role model. Perhaps our accomplishments will be seen in the time we spent with
someone in need, or the moments we put aside self long enough to share Jesus with one who
needed to know who God really is--and that He came to save all of us.
We do not know the impact we will make on many people around us, but we have an
opportunity to make that impact. Perhaps almost everyday, in the way we care for others or
show kindness or thoughtfulness to someone who is just having a rotten day; perhaps in
that we make a difference. Perhaps it is in leading someone as he prays to God to forgive
him, and to be his Lord. And no matter how we share Jesus with another, whether in word or
deed, in time or in love, we can rest assured that such labor is lasting and never in
We have a limited amount of resources in this life. Our time, money and energy are
exhaustible. But if we seek God's wisdom with these things, we will find that we have much
to offer, and that even the simplest gestures have lasting benefits. Sharing our Lord and
His love with others is an investment in eternity. It is never in vain, always beneficial,
and certainly something we can one day look back on with fondness--and never regret.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself
fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain
(1 Cor. 15:58).