During my recent devotional study of Ecclesiastes, all the depressing talk of how meaningless life is caused me to evaluate how I spend my time.
Some highlights of the first chapter include the following: The forces of nature continue the same year after year. No one remembers us when we are gone. Nothing we do is new or original; it has all been done before and will be repeated. We work hard toiling and studying, and it all comes to nothing. People are chasing the wind. The more we know, the more sorrow and grief we have. In Isaiah 40 and in Psalm 103, I see that people are like grass—here today, gone tomorrow, remembered no more. We are fleeting shadows; we don’t endure. Definitely a downer.
As I peeled apples for apple sauce and for freezing for future pies and crisps, I wondered about all my plans, work, and use of time. As a homeschool mom, it seems all I do is repeat the exact activities day in and day out: teach school, clean house, prepare meals, pay bills, weed and harvest the garden, do laundry, follow up, pray, write, read, go to bed, do it again. On days when I am tired, overwhelmed, or sad, I think it is all pointless so having the writer of Ecclesiastes pound the meaningless theme, well, you can imagine how one would feel.
None of us want to waste our days. Life is short. I want to be helping people and creating meaningful works, to have purpose, to have a life that matters, even if in a few decades from my passing no one will remember me. I hope I leave some sort of legacy. I think raising children is a purposeful legacy. Though we die, parts of us live on in our children and future family members. Helping my aunt with the family tree opened my eyes to how family members today resemble family members of past generations. Other traits are carried on, as well, such as the way we talk or certain mannerisms, interests or talents.
Do our contributions matter? Yes. Not everything we do is deemed important, but everything we do does affect someone. We all need dreams, objectives, work to fill our hours. One of the lessons in Ecclesiastes is that finding satisfaction in our work is a gift from God. Accepting and being happy with our place and our people in this world are other gifts. By doing so, we find enjoyment, and when we find this peace and joy, we praise God, which blesses God who blesses us.
Yet not everything in life is pleasant. That’s where our attitudes play in. Thoughts revolving around losses of family and friends this year interweaved with the other leaving this question: when I am gone, what is it that I want my children to know about life? Would others benefit?
Writing meaningful blogs is important to me. Perhaps writing about lessons learned may initiate good discussions. I think writing is included in God’s plan for me. God has a plan for each of us. Included in His plan is for us to know and follow Him and to tell others about Him. How do we incorporate that into everything we do? I suppose we do so by how we live, how we work, how we relate with others.
Upon completion of the entire book, one knows that everything done apart from God is meaningless. Fear God and keep his commandments. Whatever you do—raising children, writing, teaching, building homes or cars or other products, whatever you lay your hand to do—do it for the glory of God. I hope that in doing so, we may make the world a better place for our having lived.
That, I think, turns meaningless into meaningful, don’t you agree?