Chasing After the Wind
“Don’t be swayed by the false values and goals of this world, but put Christ and His will first in everything you do.” —Billy Graham
Solomon, long considered one of history’s wisest men, testified, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
He worked tirelessly to obtain labor’s sweet rewards: success, wealth, possessions. He accumulated enough wealth to build huge homes and plant beautiful vineyards, gardens, and parks. He employed many servants. He surrounded himself with all the worldly pleasures imaginable. What did he conclude?
“Yet, when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). True satisfaction eluded him.
There is an old story about a rich business mogul who walked past a fisherman sitting beside his boat, relaxing in the afternoon sun. The mogul asked, “Why aren’t you out catching fish?” The fisherman replied, “I’ve caught enough for today.”
The rich man persisted, “Why don’t you catch more fish than you need? You could make money. You could use it to buy a bigger boat, nylon nets, and go out deeper and catch even more fish. Then, one day, you could have a whole fleet of boats!”
“Then what would I do?” the fisherman asked.
“Well, you could sit down, relax, and enjoy life.”
The fisherman replied, “What do you think I’m doing right now?”
Solomon seems to have come to a similar conclusion.
“What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (Ecclesiastes 2:22-25).
The sage’s experience taught him toiling in pursuit of more only robbed him of the comfort and enjoyment of what he had. Hard work, in balance and perspective, has its rewards in this life—and they are to be enjoyed as a gift from the hand of God. Apart from this realization, no one can find satisfaction.
Jesus asks, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world and yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). When it comes to recognizing what’s most important, sometimes we miss the forest for the trees.
My prayer this week—Lord, thank you for the many blessings you’ve bestowed upon me through my work and its remuneration and rewards. Please help me balance my priorities, accomplish work in its appointed hours, and wisely employ and enjoy its benefits as a blessing from your hand.