”When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
Well, that’s a day brighter isn’t it?
Solomon penned the above words in the book of Ecclesiastes and here he tells us that everything he had achieved and accomplished here on earth (under the sun) was empty.
What’s particularly interesting about this passage is that Solomon had a pretty amazing life. I looked it up on Google and I learned that in today’s terms Solomon would be worth over 2 trillion dollars. (We’re talking Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg on steroids) He was Israel’s richest and wisest King and he accomplished many things during his reign. And yet…Solomon surveys his life and says it was all – meaningless. A chasing after the wind.
Solmon had a great start and a rocky finish. When he began his reign as King he sought God in everything he did. His greatest desire was to have Godly wisdom as he ruled the land. But his many blessings drew him away from God, leaving him feeling empty and dissatisfied. Solomon concludes that a life without God is meaningless.
God transforms our work, our efforts, our experiences, and our relationships and weaves it into His grand master plan. Anything we do without God is a chasing after the wind – it runs through your fingers and vanishes. It’s a bit sobering.
My small group from church has been studying Ecclesiastes and it’s given us all kinds of things to ponder and wrestle over. On one particular night we talked a lot about what gives our lives meaning – as we are living under the sun – and what things we are doing that feels more like a chasing after the wind.
We decided that chasing after the wind is when we are restless, lack contentment, are constantly planning, and constantly striving. It happens when we leave God out of our relationships and go about our days without Him.
Working hard is good and it should give us pleasure. Contentment at work can be found in serving others, enjoying relationships that God brings into our lives, and working to the best of our ability. But working for more stuff and more notoriety falls into the lines of chasing after the wind.
We decided that having nice things doesn’t necessarily mean that we are chasing after the wind. We talked about the fine line of having nice things for the right reasons. Having a nice home can be used to invite people in and share good family times. Having a nice home to impress others is a chasing after the wind…
And just to keep ourselves honest we asked ourselves the question – would we still be content if we had – less? And are we always wishing for just a little bit more?
There was so much more to our conversation and if you ever have a chance to study Ecclesiastes I would seriously consider it. Or just read it on your own. It is very thought provoking. (I think I will do a few more blogs on some more powerful scriptures that spurred some lively discussion in our group.)
The most profound moment of the evening came when we asked the question, “What are the simple things that bring you contentment?” Each of us went around and shared our answer to that question and to tell you the truth I can’t remember what anyone said except for one woman. Her answer was, “Speech.”
Oh. Oh. Ohhhh. Wow.
Last summer Sarah had brain surgery for a benign tumor on one side of her brain. During surgery they discovered a cancerous tumor on the other side of her brain. After surgery, she was unable to walk or talk. Her brain simply could not communicate in a way that could get her body to follow along.
When we met that evening, she had finally gotten to the point where she could enjoy her morning run around the Lake Minnetonka area in Minnesota. And she was able to talk – although that became more difficult at the end of a long day. She was anticipating another surgery in two more weeks.
Sarah is grateful and content. She is grateful for time with her husband and her children, she praises God each morning as the sun comes up on her early morning run, she praises God for speech, and today – post-second-surgery – she is praising God for a succesful surgery and miraculous recovery.
If you met Sarah, you would see that her physical appearance reveals her contented spirit. She has a warm smile, is a good laugher, and has a sparkle in her eye. You find yourself wanting to hang out with her for hours. Her trial has helped her to have a heavenly perspective – her focus is on the things above the sun. She has an intimate relationship with Jesus and brings Him into every part of her day.
In everything that is done under the sun, we are either chasing after the wind – or chasing after God.
How much of my life is spent chasing after the wind?
It’s something to think about.