Anyone who says the Bible isn’t realistic hasn’t read Ecclesiastes! Here’s a person who sees no ultimate value in their work, and is struggling to persevere. But with God at the centre of our life, our work and toil can gain meaning. We can, with God, find satisfaction in life!
17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.
24 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, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
God, I pray for those who are pressured and preoccupied with achievement … for those whose tensions come from thinking only about themselves … for those whose self-expectations occupy all the space in their soul … for those whose ambitions make them feel trapped. God, help them to find a new perspective and a balance in their life, so their minds and hearts will find calm and compassion. Give them a desire to serve You and others. Through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.