What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
There are times when I really agree with the Preacher of Ecclesiastes. Lately it seems that the more work I do, the further behind I get. Trying to find a way to balance all the plates I have spinning, and all the hats I have to wear, the “woe is me” inside of me cries out, “It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind” (Ecc. 1:13-14).
Still I know that there is meaning and purpose to life. I was not put here for vanity’s sake. I was created and called to glorify God, and so were you. He has put eternity into our hearts (Eccl 3:11) so that we would long for God. He has created us to know Him, to praise Him, and He has made us to know Him. God has created us in such a way that we will not find our rest until we rest in Him, that we will have no lasting joy until our joy is found in Him.
The way we live sometimes tries to deny this reality, but God is the center of the universe, all things were made by Him and for His glory. When we scramble around frantically we act as though we are the center. We soon find, though, that when we put ourselves in the center, we are merely in the eye of the hurricane – and we are powerless to still the winds. The sooner we remember that this life is to be lived for God, we find He has the power to calm the storms we face.
Wonderfully, the flip-side of living for the glory of God is that we also get to enjoy His presence. When God is at the very center of our lives, we our ultimate fulfillment is in honoring Him and living for His glory, we quickly discover the joy and blessing of God’s awesome presence. We are overcome by His love. We are stilled by His peace. We are comforted by His mercy. We are strengthened by His might right hand.
What a promise we’ve been given. This world is not “Vanity, Vanity!” In spite of the busyness of our lives, we have a purpose and promise from God. Maybe we simply need to stop and hear Him say again, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Almighty God, bring our busyness to a crashing halt. Remind us of the purpose and promise you’ve given. My we find you in the center of our being, that we might live for your glory and know the joy of your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.