What Is My Purpose? – Ecclesiastes 2:17-19
Ecclesiastes 2:17-19 (NIV)
So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.
Ecclesiastes 2:17-19 (MSG)
I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind. And I hated everything I’d accomplished and accumulated on this earth. I can’t take it with me—no, I have to leave it to whoever comes after me. Whether they’re worthy or worthless—and who’s to tell?—they’ll take over the earthly results of my intense thinking and hard work. Smoke.
“So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun caused me only great sorrow; because all is futility and chasing after the wind. So I hated all the fruit (gain) of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will succeed me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity (futility, self-conceit).” -AMPLIFIED
“If our identity is in our work, rather than Christ, success will go to our heads, and failure will go to our hearts.” ~Timothy Keller
Work, for some people, is the be all and the end all. It is who they are and it gives meaning to their life. In today’s lesson we find the Teacher actually telling us that our jobs do not define who we are, nor do they give our lives meaning.
“So I began to hate life itself because all that is done under the sun is so harsh and difficult. Life—everything about it—is fleeting; it’s like trying to pursue the wind. So I began to hate all the hard work I had done under the sun because I would eventually have to leave it all to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether my heir will be wise or foolish? Still he will inherit all the things for which I worked so hard here under the sun, the things for which I became wise. This, too, is fleeting like trying to catch hold of a breath.” -(VOICE)
Once again we find the Teacher sharing with us his struggle over the meaning of life. In his journey towards enlightenment and the meaning of life he began to have a very pessimistic attitude toward life in general and toward the work he had to accomplish. He tells us that he basically hated life. Life, seemed meaningless; and everything that he was working toward, or for, appeared to be pointless. His reasoning behind this conclusion was because all of his hard work would not benefit him, but the person/persons who would take over after he had died. Who knew what type of person THEY would be, wise man or fool. It could very well be that all the Teacher’s hard work, in the end, would be for naught. This thought made the Teacher very discouraged and upset.
“So now I hate life because it is all so irrational; all is foolishness, chasing the wind. And I am disgusted about this—that I must leave the fruits of all my hard work to others. And who can tell whether my son will be a wise man or a fool? And yet all I have will be given to him—how discouraging!” -(TLB)
What is the point of life anyhow? Is there a reason and purpose for why we are here? Or is this life meaningless, as the Teacher had originally thought? Actually Scripture has much to say about our purpose and our reason for being. Let’s take a look.
1.) The main reason that God created us was to bring Him glory, honor and praise.
“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.” -Revelation 4:11 (AMP)
2.) We were also created in order to have fellowship with God. Take notice, this fellowship should bring us joy.
“What we saw and heard we pass on to you so that you, too, will be connected with us intimately and become family. Our family is united by our connection with the Father and His Son Jesus, the Anointed One; and we write all this because retelling this story fulfills our joy.” -1 John 1:3-4 (VOICE)
3.) We need to remember that God had a purpose and plan for each of our lives.
“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)
4.) Remember that God works through every life and every situation to fulfill His purposes; which may not necessarily be our own.
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” -Romans 8:28 (VOICE)
5.) Finally, trust God; no matter what happens. He has your best interest at heart.
“If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” -Proverbs 3:4-6 (TLB)
“The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus.” ~Timothy Keller
My friend, your identity and purpose cannot be found in your work, but only in God. Stop looking to your job for meaning and start digging into the Word to find out who you are in the scheme of things.
“You cannot live your life other than walking in the truth. Your means are as important as your ends.” ~Chuck Coleson
Heavenly Father, I am understanding more every day that my whole purpose and identity is found only in you. Help me to remember this truth and not go searching for identity in my job, things or others. Lord, I know that you have a plan for my life, and I pray that I will be obedient to that plan. Help me to bring glory and honor and praise to you in the way I live. Help me always to keep the lines of fellowship open between us. I need you, Lord and I know I need to trust that you will work all things out for my good and your glory. source