WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 13, 2023
TOPIC: WHEN LIFE FEELS MEANINGLESS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11 New International Version).
Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived, in the book of Ecclesiastes gave what many often consider a pessimistic view of life. Writing from his experience, Solomon described as meaningless or vanity and chasing after the wind some things done “under the sun” such as human labour, pleasure, human wisdom, love of money, amassing of wealth, envy or competition, and selfish labour for riches.
He used the phrase “under the sun” 29 times in the New King James Version and it is not used anywhere else in this translation. The phrase refers to the physical or non-spiritual world as against the spiritual world. However, some have given it the connotative meaning of “life without God” especially considering the concluding part of the book.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (New King James Version).
Life apart from Jesus Christ is meaningless. Human labour, wealth, wisdom, and so on will only leave one with a sense of emptiness without Jesus in one’s life. Solomon said, “For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune” (Ecclesiastes 2:21 New International Version).
He also said in Ecclesiastes 2:11 says, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (New International Version). Those who live for their material possessions and achievements will experience much frustration when they’re faced with the reality that they will not take anything with them when they die. Life feels meaningless.
If people often think about this, they will not only slow down in their mad rush for wealth acquisition and inordinate ambition without a living relationship with God but will also not hold tightly to the things of this world. They will not be stingy or selfish. Rather they will be generous towards God and fellow human beings. Because when they die, they will leave everything behind. They don’t know who will inherit it. Even if they have willed their possessions to their children and relations, they don’t know whether they will make good use of them or not.
Life feels pointless when someone is dying and he has to leave behind all the earthly possessions he has laboured to acquire and selfishly cherishes or all his worldly attainment. All the academic titles, for example, enter the grave with him! They can’t be transferred to their children!
Some life experiences change people’s perspectives of life. One of them is the death of their loved ones such as loving parents, spouses, children, or siblings. When such painful occurrences are fresh, life could become meaningless to people. They may conclude that there is nothing in this world. In other words, there is nothing worth struggling for since one would one day leave everything behind, and, for some people, that, sometimes, happens suddenly and early in life!
David also said something about the brevity of life and the futility of world acquisition in Psalm 39:6. He said, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it” (New Living Translation). According to Paul, godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (1 Timothy 6:6-7).
The writer of Psalm 49 warned, “Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. Though while they live they count themselves blessed—and people praise you when you prosper—they will join those who have gone before them who will never again see the light of life” (verses 16-19 New International Version).
Death is inevitable and nobody knows when and who will die next. We all have an appointment with death. Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed for men to die once but after this the judgment. And nobody knows when his time on earth will be up. David said, “Lord, tell me when the end will come and how long I will live. Let me know how long I have. You have given me only a short life; my lifetime is like nothing to you. Everyone’s life is only a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5 New Century Version).
No wonder, Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart” (New King James Version). Verse 4 says the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. Seeing the dead in the house of mourning makes someone reflect on his life and consider his end. In other words, wise people think about their end. The New Living Translation puts Ecclesiastes 7:4 this way: “A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.” He doesn’t think of death because he wants to die but he thinks of his end.
We need to be guided daily by the truth that life is meaningless without Jesus and that there is nothing earthly that is worth living for. We brought nothing into this world, and, certainly, we can carry nothing out. The warning in 1 Corinthians 7:31 is relevant here: “ You should use the things of the world without letting them become important to you. This is how you should live, because this world, the way it is now, will soon be gone” (Easy-to-Read Version).
See how GOD’S WORD Translation says it: “Those who use the things in this world should do so but not depend on them. It is clear that this world in its present form is passing away.” And the New Living Translation renders it thus: “Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.”
There is nothing in this world outside of Jesus that is worth living for. You won’t take with you when you die any of your earthly possessions or accomplishments. The best use of life is not in the material or worldly acquisition, ambition, or pursuit but to do the will of God. 1 John 2:16-17 says, “For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (New King James Version).
We must do the will of God on earth as it is in heaven in line with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2 ). David said in Psalm 143:10, “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness” (New King James Version). We must seek and do the will of God. Outside of this, life will feel meaningless.
You can’t take your money with you when you die but you can send it ahead by being rich toward God – giving to God’s causes on earth, especially soul-winning, and using it to do good to others, especially the poor and needy. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21 New International Version).
There is nothing most important in this world other than to live for the purpose God created us. We should live as God wants us to live. Therefore, our prayer to God should be, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should” (Psalm 90:12 The Living Bible). You can live a purposeful, meaningful life when you surrender your life to Jesus and follow His will for your life. Life doesn’t have to feel meaningless.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not pile up riches for myself but be rich toward God. Holy Spirit, teach me to number my days and recognize how few they are; help me to spend them as I should. Help me to know and do the will of God.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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