14th October 2011

Can’t Get No Satisfaction?

All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind”
Ecclesiastes 2:17 (NIV UK)

Have you ever chased after something that was blown away by the wind?

The wind can be refreshing. It can blow the cobwebs from our minds. Sometimes it is furious and unpredictable. It is always out of our control. Once, on descending the steps of an aeroplane, a passenger’s hat was caught up by a gust of wind. It seemed funny at the time. Stewards chased after it, but the wind blew it first of all under the wing, then towards another aircraft, and, dangerously, out onto the path of incoming flights.

Solomon, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, was disillusioned with life. “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure”, he wrote (2:10). Yet nothing satisfied him. Working hard was also not the answer, nor learning whatever education had to offer. Today Solomon may have been told to find his own giftedness and celebrate it. He, however, said he had tried that. His skills brought him only passing fulfilment. Relationships and riches also did not bring ultimate satisfaction. All the philosophies of which he knew, the proverbs and the words of wisdom, did not help much. In the end there was still something missing, but he did not know what it was. For him everything was like chasing after the wind.

Of course, Solomon spoke from a privileged position. Most of us have not experienced even half of what he had. We may think that we would like the chance, and then see whether we agree with him. Solomon concluded that a dutiful life of worship and good behaviour was the only way forward. This was important, he thought, because one day “God will bring every deed into judgment” (12:13-14).

The New Testament offers a different perspective. We live our life of faith, not because of fear of judgment, but because we have been forgiven already. Fulfilment does not come from ourselves or from anything we do, but from Jesus who lives in us through the Spirit. 

In other words your worship and behaviour flow from your relationship with the risen Christ. It is because his grace abounds to you “that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Jesus, “who is your life” (Colossians 3:4), gives meaning to your existence.

Therefore stop chasing after the wind. After all, you might get blown away!

Let’s follow Jesus.

Father, help me through your Spirit to turn to Jesus so that he can fill my life with meaning and purpose. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson

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