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Everything Is Meaningless – What Are You Working For?

July 16, 2023
Kelly Kinder
In our sermon, we delve into Ecclesiastes to uncover the true purpose of work beyond survival or success. It’s about pleasing God, embracing Solomon's wisdom, leaving a lasting legacy, and finding identity in Christ, not in our jobs, focusing on living for God in the present.

Work – it’s a necessity for survival and often a measure of success in society. However, many grapple with the question, “What are we really working for?” Is it just for survival or the pursuit of success? Or is there a deeper, more spiritual purpose to our labor? This question forms the foundation of our latest sermon, where we seek wisdom from the book of Ecclesiastes and explore the lifelong quest for meaning by the writer we believe to be Solomon. We begin our exploration with the assertion that the real purpose of work extends beyond mere survival or the pursuit of success.

The profound wisdom drawn from Ecclesiastes tells us that work should fundamentally be about pleasing God. When we work to please God, we receive the divine gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and joy. This perspective radically shifts our understanding of work from being a burden or a means to an end to being a conduit for divine favor. Building on this wisdom, we delve into the enigmatic life of Solomon. Solomon’s life leads him to a hard truth – life is tough, but God is good. He refers to the concept of work as an illusion and a gift. Work is often filled with fatigue and anxiety, yet we can find the sustaining power of God’s Word through it all. Further, we discuss the inherent desire in us to leave a legacy. Despite being a king, Solomon himself yearned for his work to have significance after his death. This suggests a divinely implanted awareness that life is more than the here and now. Our work can be seen as a gift and a means to leave a legacy that outlives us.

Work often becomes so central to our lives that it starts defining our identities. However, when our efforts do not yield the desired outcomes, it can lead to despair and disillusionment. Solomon, too, experienced deep despondency when he realized the futility of devoting his heart to his work. Our identities should not be found in our jobs but in Jesus Christ. As believers, we should find satisfaction in what we have rather than continually striving for more. Then Kelly takes a closer look at the life of Blaise Pascal, a renowned mathematician and philosopher. Pascal’s reflections on living in the present moment resonate deeply with the teachings of Ecclesiastes. His words remind us to focus on the present and relinquish our futile attempts to control the past and future.

Towards the end, Kelly emphasizes finding joy in pleasing the Lord. This is inspired by Solomon’s teachings and supported by the words of 1 Corinthians 15. It serves as a reminder that our labor is never in vain when done for the Lord. Kelly concludes with a powerful call to action – to challenge our perceptions of work, redefine our ideas of legacy, and find joy in our day-to-day work while focusing on living for God in the present. This not only brings a new sense of purpose to our work but also brings us closer to the divine.

To sum it up, the purpose of work, as gleaned from the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and Solomon, is not just about survival or success. It’s about serving a higher purpose – pleasing God, finding joy in our daily labor, and focusing on the present moment. In this sense, work becomes a divine gift and a means to experience God’s grace.