May 26, 2022 – Ecclesiastes 2: 12-26 – Work

Today we will read Ecclesiastes 2: 12-26:

12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly, for what can the king’s successor do? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their head,
    but fools walk in darkness.
Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15 Then I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?” And I said to myself that this also is vanity. 16 For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? 17 So I hated life because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to my successor, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23 For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

I was taught early in life that hard work covers a multitude of sins.  Work hard.  Do your best. That is what counts; that is what matters. And I still believe that there is much truth there.  We should work hard on whatever task we have in front of us. That is a good thing, an important thing, something that we should always do and always be about.  

But today, we see that work itself doesn’t satisfy.  You work hard, the guy or gal who comes after you may waste all your work. And you work hard, guess what?  You’re still going to die.  Your hard work cannot change the unavoidable.  No matter what you, how much you do, how much you get right, the same fate awaits the worker and the lazy. 


Death comes to us all. That is what the Teacher is learning.  No matter what you do, it is all vanity.  Work hard, it won’t change what is going to happen. 

Party, it won’t change what is going to happen. 

Have all wisdom, it won’t change what is going to happen. 

This life is finite. So, if we understand that life is finite and that this life will end one day, why are we placing all our hopes, dreams, and our very worth on this life?  How futile is that?  How pointless is that?  

There is more to this life than these things. There is hope and there is peace. But it doesn’t come from what we do. It comes from what He has done. 

Today don’t trust in your work or find your worth in your work. Find it in the work of Jesus. That is where life is truly found.  

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