One of the things that happens as you mature is dealing with all that you have seen, heard, and done. As I have told many people, I have learned more since I was fifty than in the fifty years prior. My entire writing career started when I was fifty, for example.
Lately, we have been dealing a lot with Ecclesiastes—all is vanity. More and more, nothing seems to matter except our relationship with Jesus. Increasingly, the things I do every day seem to have no intrinsic value. In themselves, they are meaningless. What matters is how people react to them. That includes how I react.
Why do we do what we do?
As I was looking at Ecclesiastes this morning, I was struck by a couple of verses I do not recall: 2:24-25
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.
This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
The truth of this just slapped me upside the head. I don’t know if this is a male thing, but enjoying your toil is an amazing blessing. Part of the curse of sin is that we men must sweat and toil. How we resist this truth. Here’s what God told us because we ate from the tree:
Gen 3:17-19—…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,…(ESV)
So, the pain of work is not the problem—that is a given.
The problem is dissatisfaction—and worse, our attempts to avoid the pain by doing what we think is satisfying, what we think is good, what we think is fun. WE cannot make outselves happy. We cannot plan for our satisfaction. It is a vain striving without issue. It does not work.
As always, the solution is: listen and follow
As you know, one of my favorite verses is John 5:39–40
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (ESV)
Life is found in Jesus. Following Him leads through life. Satisfaction is discovered by doing what He calls us to do—because that is what we are meant to do, designed to do, equipped to do.