“Then I observed that the basic motive for success is the driving force of envy and jealousy! But this, too, is foolishness, chasing the wind”— Ecclesiastes 4:4 (TLB).
One of my favorite contemporary Christian songs is titled “Just Give Me Jesus.” It reminds me of the saying, often credited to Billy Graham. “My home is in heaven. I’m just passing through this world.”
Often called upon to ease the nation’s fears during stressful times, Dr. Graham’s wisdom provided calm no matter the situation. He reassured us that Earth is just a stopping place, a way station, before our final home.
Hebrews 13:14 puts it this way. “For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.”
Is Life on Earth Meaningless?
Rereading the book of Ecclesiastes for the fourth time, I’m trying to make sense of the author’s state of mind. Chapter one seems to set the tone, and it’s depressing. He writes: “In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. For what does a man get for all his hard work?”
Although the writer of Ecclesiastes has often been identified as King Solomon, scholars disagree. Many avoid reading this Old Testament book because they feel overwhelmed by the view of life it offers. Like the book of Job, it doesn’t avoid the tough questions of life. But does it offer any answers to life’s meaning?
As the author of Ecclesiastes says, “there is nothing new under the sun that is capable of giving meaning to life.” Could it be we’re chasing the wrong things?
Chasing the Wrong Things
American evangelist David Wilkerson, once said, “Many of those who once were so passionately in love with Christ now run about pursuing their own interests. They’re burdened down with stress and problems, chasing after riches and the things of this world.”
Studying the words penned by the author of Ecclesiastes and reading commentary, I recall the years I pursued and envied what others had. By pursuing what I thought made me a success, I lost sight of who I was in Christ.
That’s why I understand the writer’s point: Even if we achieve worldly success, death awaits each of us at the end. We can’t take it with us. So, in essence, we’re just running after the wind, a useless endeavor.
Finding Meaning in Life
Ecclesiastes 7:14 says, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”
We know frustration and adversity are unavoidable in this life. Pursing anything else but God cannot bring lasting satisfaction and fulfillment. Charles Spurgeon, a British pastor, once said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”
For me, enjoying life means making memories with my family and friends. Being able to look back, laugh at the good times, and reminisce about troubling times, teaches us to enjoy each moment. Forgotten are the possessions we no longer have. Forgotten are those gathering dust. Forgotten are those turning to rust. Forgotten are those that are no longer important.
Our Worth Should Not Come from Things
I know people who rush to buy the latest technology as soon as it hits the market. For them, it’s a status symbol. Most of us don’t need the extra bells and whistles costing us more money and time to figure them out. At least, I don’t. My motto is “keep it simple.”
Until I figured out my worth didn’t come from things or winning accolades, I was lost. Things and success don’t last. When I discovered my identify in Christ, my priorities changed. My worth is found in Him, and Him alone.
Chasing the wind is futile. It leads nowhere. Part of the lyrics to the song “Just Give me Jesus,” sums up what I’ve discovered. “There’s nothing I desire that can’t be found in You. You’re everything that I’ve ever needed. Just give me Jesus.”
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. (See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.) When she isn’t writing, she can be found spending time with her seven grandchildren, working in her yard, volunteering, shooting photos, hiking, going on mission trips and playing with her spoiled rotten dog, Harley.