The Futility of Living for the Moment

This week’s devotions focus on revealing our misplaced sources of hope.

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hand had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)

The writer of Ecclesiastes, traditionally attributed to Solomon, examined life from our human perspective—from “under the sun”. After examining the pursuit of joy, worth, and truth through worldly means such as success, wealth, power, and pleasure, he concluded that the world, as we live “under the sun”, is sheer meaningless apart from God. Therefore, our ultimate purpose in life should be to seek God and to live for Him through worship and obedience.

Addicts may have an advantage over the rest of us when it comes to understanding the futility of life itself. Once they break out of the stage of denial when they don’t acknowledge the severity of their condition, they begin to search for real meaning through a “higher power” we know to be Jesus Christ, the Lord. But first, they usually have to reach such a level of despair in which they feel “sick and tired” of being “sick and tired” before they’re ready to endeavor to change.

Sometimes the opposite circumstances can produce similar changes in perspectives. We’ve all heard of very successful people, such as star athletes, who have spent enormous amounts of time and energy achieving their goals. But once they’re at the top, they recognize it wasn’t as satisfying as they had expected and hoped it would be. Their sense of futility can drive them to seek a meaningful relationship with God. 

For those who don’t live in the extremes, living life day by day—without regard for eternity—can seem to have its rewards. They learn to place relative value in various aspects of life that matter to them the most, whether it be work, family, sports, hobbies, etc. They pay little attention to spiritual matters, which they often believe is a matter of one’s opinion and preference anyway.

And those who continually struggle to get by have little room and patience for anything that doesn’t seem important for their day-to-day survival. What they fail to see is the absolute futility of all their efforts in the end. They may have survived and enjoyed some aspects of life; but when their life is all over, what will they have to show for it? Without acknowledging God through worship, faith, and obedience, there’s nothing of lasting value beyond the grave.

By Jim Connell

Jim and his wife, Becky, moved from Indiana to Lexington to establish the Lexington Rescue Mission. They have two married children, Laura and Brian.

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