Today’s Bible Reading
But when I surveyed all that my hands had done, and what I had worked so hard to achieve, I realized that it was pointless—a chasing after wind. Nothing is to be gained under the sun.– Ecclesiastes 2:11
More thoughts for meditation
Ecclesiastes is one of the last books that is written in the Old Testament. Sometimes we describe it as the culmination of Hebrew wisdom, written as a reflection of the storied history of God’s People in Israel. It is a radical text that asks existential questions about God and life in general. The teacher here is telling us about how they enjoyed all of the pleasures of the world and worked under the sun to collect them, only to find out that upon reflection, it was all useless, pointless, “a chasing after the wind.”
I think the teaching here rings true today because a lot of labor is a chasing after the wind. We don’t need to work on gaining more because we’ve been gifted everything by God. What does God ask from us in return? Not work or labor to justify ourselves—because our justification is freely given. God asks for allegiance and loyalty. In the Old Testament, the worst thing Israel can do is work for their protection and wealth by allying with an enemy of God or a competing nation.
God asks for loyalty and allegiance, and offers protection and provision in return. And when we fail, God offers us a way back, never holding our wrongs against us, even if we incur consequences as a result of them.
Suggestions for action
The salvation that is freely given to us by Jesus is the final expression of the generosity that God has always demonstrated throughout history. God’s love endures forever and is freely given to us. We don’t collect it by laboring under the sun; such labors are pointless. We can bask in the pleasure of God’s grace without working for more of it. Perhaps we can imagine our laboring for approval and pleasure to be disloyalty to God, since God already provides all we need. If it works for you, discipline yourself to toil less knowing that toiling for love is no longer needed because our Heavenly Parent provides all we need already.
Today is Patrick Day on Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body blog. See what God says to you through this famous evangelist.