Sometimes we work so hard to make a difference in our world and the lives of our loved ones, we invest so much time and energy that when it seems we fail we feel defeated. The feeling of defeat can bring humiliation and dissatisfaction to our hearts leaving us empty and exhausted. It at times seems to all have been in vain.
“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)
Had Solomon finished the Book of Ecclesiastes with those two verses it would indeed have been a very pessimistic book. If a man can labor and attain all his heart desires and still experience disappointment and frustration after looking back on it, then what’s the use? If that is all you reach for then there is no use; it gets used up and you end up where you started.
But if we understand that our Heavenly Father does desire for us to labor and toil and enjoy the fruits of our labor, and we recognize that He is the giver and taker of all blessings on earth, then we can truly begin to strike a Biblical balance to life:
“What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13)
God has ordained man to work and to reap the rewards of our labor:
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
But God did not just make man to work; as Solomon wrote our Creator wired us for eternity. And if we have not settled the issue of eternity then we will never find the final piece of the puzzle known as joy. Until we turn our eyes and hearts to our Heavenly Father, peace will always elude us. King David knew this as well as many man:
“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah. For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the king’s life, his years as many generations. He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him! So I will sing praise to Your name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.” (Psalm 61)
So how do we strike the Biblical balance in our lives as Christians? Our old friend Matthew Henry clues us in by commenting on Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 2:
“Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What use is noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men’s hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, is like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, Solomon next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.”
Pay very close attention to that last sentence. The key ingredient to human satisfaction is Jesus Christ; without Him you will never attain for what you search. And for those of us striving for the Kingdom; two things.
First, stop striving and try thriving in the blessed joy of serving Christ.
Two, always, as in all the time, remember the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Galatian church:
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
Whether you are frustrated by politics, poverty, or prosperity remember that in all things we are to remain in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). So do not give up! Let us encourage and exhort one another in love.
And to my dear readers who have been eavesdropping who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, these words you may understand and yet receive no meaning from them. It is because you do not have the ability to discern them. That comes only through the Holy Spirit and He is only available through the Lord Jesus Christ. Won’t you receive Christ today? Don’t wait; tomorrow may never come. Turn from your sins and to Christ and receive eternal life.
I will be off tomorrow so I pray all of you have a very blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at email@example.com and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject.
Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers
Aletheia, Bible, Christian Activism, Christianity, Culture, Depression, election, Evangelism, Faith, Forgiveness, Grace, Holy Spirit, Joy, Mercy, Morality, Politics, praise, Prayer, Revival, Sin, Truth, Wisdom, worship