“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:18
Thanks to my wonderful mentor and friend, Vicki Judd, I found myself sitting and listening to a podcast by Jonathan Martin entitled “The Gift of Being Small“. Seriously, it was an amazing sermon on Ecclesiastes. I had a major light blub moment while listening to it. In fact, this sermon hit so close to home. It’s right where I am at! God’s Word is so powerful and a well time message is confirmation from the Lord. It was a beautiful thing. So let me try to explain! I have included the link, so you can listen in as well. It’s worth the time! Please try!
Okay, the book of Ecclesiastes is always really cheery. I mean who doesn’t love being told everything is meaningless? Makes you want to grab some pom-poms, right? YAY LIFE! But as I listened to the Word and Jonathan’s explanation, it just came alive right where I needed it. You see getting smarter, filling your mind with more, trying to always achieve the next level – in life, at work, wherever – it’s never going to satisfy. There will never be enough. There will always be more that we want, that we need. On this side of heaven, we will never achieve it all. We will never arrive. We can spend our whole existence chasing after more. More money, more intelligence, more skills, more responsibility. Our desires for more will never be fulfilled. In fact, the higher up the ladder of more we climb, we find that it’s harder to be satisfied. Every new thing loses it’s thrill. A new phase of life, a new toy, a new job – nothing stays new forever and the need for more creeps in. This is the life most live. It’s considered chasing after the American dream. Really – it’s meaningless. It will never satisfy. A chasing after the wind.
Now that we’re all built up and feeling awesome about life – the Teacher says “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25). It comes down to the simple things. Enjoy a meal because it’s from God. Enjoy the small things. Enjoy the things in this moment. Looking back – meaningless. Looking forward – meaningless. Enjoy the moment – God’s perfect gift.
As I count 1000 gifts yet again, I am so aware of the small things. How each one of them is a gift from the Lord. Each breath, each meal, each laugh, each smile. They are all priceless and yet cost so little. These are things that make life worth living. They can not be enjoyed apart of God and the knowledge that he is the gift-giver. Jonathan said, when you think you’re BIG – you expect big things, you need big things. When you realize how small you are, you can be satisfied by the simple pleasures. It’s not about having it all figured out. It’s not about being the greatest. It’s not about how awesome we are. It’s about God. It’s about the fact that he loves us. He is in each moment. Especially the small moments, the ones we tend to overlook. Life is so much better when we are satisfied by the small things. The things that are free and precious and vastly unseen.
While I have known this in my head, for the first time in my life (in my heart), I am living each day with two questions in my mind. The first is – Am I loving God? Have I given him my time, my praise, my worship, my adoration? Is my love for him growing and deepening? The second questions is – Am I loving people? In my actions, in my words, through my decisions and choices? Jesus says these are the two greatest commandments and they go hand in hand. If I can answer yes to both of those then it’s a good day. I’m on mission. I’m living life on purpose. It’s not about to-do lists and achieving and reaching goals and cleaning bathrooms. Love God. Love people. Find joy in the small. See God’s gifts in each moment.
This is manna! This is the meal that sustains me. This is the good life. I am so blessed. Tickled down to my toes over the little things. Why? Because they are signs that I am loved by a BIG GOD! It’s mind-blowing! I am humbled! As Ann Voskamp says, I may never wear shoes again. This is sacred ground!