BCL Grow: Are You Striving After Wind? — Ecclesiastes 4:4
Ecclesiates 4:4 (Providence)
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Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. — Ecclesiastes 4:4
“Live the life you have now instead of longing for the life you think you will have but which you actually cannot control at all.” — David Gibson, Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End, p. 73.
Steps to Take
1. Reflect: Until we are face-to-face with a life circumstance beyond our control, it’s all too easy to think that if we work hard enough, pray enough, and trust God enough, we can fulfill our plans, hopes, and dreams.
2. Know: In Ecclesiastes 4:4, the Preacher is teaching us that striving for material goods out of a covetous heart and seeking worldly acclaim to be admired by others are like trying to grasp the wind. We think such things will bring us lasting happiness, but they can never satisfy us at the deepest level. True joy comes from loving relationships with our Creator and other human beings. Jesus warned, “‘No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money’” (Luke 16:13). Work is good, as it is the means by which we provide for ourselves, for those who are dependent on us, and for the needy. But, we can let vain striving overtake our thoughts and divert us from the most important parts of life.
3. Understand: For what are you striving? Is it to bring glory to God or to yourself? What would you do if all your dreams and plans were destroyed? Would your relationships be enough for you? Would your peace in Christ be enough for you? If you find yourself in circumstances that leave you feeling unraveled and out of control, know that God uses such times to turn your gaze to him alone. Let go of the approval of the world and find your identity, joy, and rest in Christ your Savior.