The teacher whose voice we hear in Ecclesiastes reminds us of something very important. Life is transient and unpredictable and cyclical and fleeting. It disappears quickly, like early morning mist in the valley. We’ve all experienced this! Life has been strange and fleeting since the beginning of time. Even when we pretend well, we realize that we’re not in control, and we’re not here for long, and we may not have many days left. So, given the fleeting nature of life, what should we do with our days? What things are meaningful, or useful to do? Is there gain in toil and pleasures and projects and wealth? The writer’s questions are apt, of course, because without God, there is no gain at all. Instead, there is a ‘gift.’ Everything we have is a gift from God – wisdom, knowledge, and satisfaction. We can choose to live a life defined more by ‘gift’, than by gain. We can choose to focus on giving from what we have. As we do, we will find meaning and hope in knowing the one who knows the answer to every question. He is in control of our days and times, including the ones we would never choose. And we know that one day, Jesus will return, and make all things clear, even the transient mist in the valley.
Reflect: What does it mean to live wisely and faithfully today? How can we live lives defined more by gift than by gain? Will we let God change our hearts today so that we focus more on his gifts than on our gains?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for this reminder. We slip into ‘gain’ so easily. Please breathe your life-giving message of ‘gift’ into us today.
Call to Action: Write a list of the simple gifts in your life, today. Acknowledge that everything is a gift from God, including sunshine, breath, wind, flowers, the sound of birds, the touch of family members, the ability to smile, or read, or move from one room to another. Count the number of days that you have been given so far, and ask God for wisdom to live the days ahead.