Monday, July 26, 2010

Hand of God

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.

24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.
(Ecclesiastes 2:17-24, New King James Version)

Hand of God

Our Bible passage today begins on a rather dismal note.

Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

How can this be? This is King Solomon, the richest man in the world; he should be happy, right? As Solomon looks for the deeper meaning in life, he finds himself discouraged. He has done everything he could do in terms of building his empire in wisdom, yet in the end it will all be left to someone who has not labored for it. What will that man do with it?

For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

However, Solomon does not leave us without hope. Look at his conclusion in verse 24.

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

Though he can find no satisfying purpose for all of his labor, Solomon understands that he is viewing it from the wrong perspective. Why am I laboring? Am I trying to leave a name for myself, or look wise and powerful to those around me? Doing so just brings emptiness; it is all vanity.

What is the right conclusion? Man should enjoy his work. His soul should enjoy the good in his labor, because he understands that what he has is from the hand of God. It always comes back to this, does it not? We cannot, and should not try, to separate ourselves from the hand of God in our lives. Therein, and only therein, is there true purpose to life.

Christianity is not something we just tack on to the rest of our lives. Christianity is our life; in other words, we have no life apart from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even our work and play should be centered around our service for God.

Let us pray, this day, that we will purpose to see the hand of God in everything we do and say. This is not possible in and of ourselves, but by the grace of God we can do it!

God Bless You,
Linda

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