What's the Point? (A Study in Ecclesiastes: Part 2)

Devotional

COMPENSATION & SIGNIFICANCE

What’s the point of success? In his search for an answer, Q makes two stops. One is compensation, and the other is significance.

We work hard to earn compensation- we need money to meet our basic needs: food, shelter, and clothing. And when we get them, we need more and more. We want more and more. So we work more and more. Why do we want more? Well, for one thing, because our neighbors have more! In Ecclesiastes 4:4, Q notes that envy drives our toil. We see what we don’t have and want it for ourselves. God warned his people about that in the 10th commandment (Exodus 20:17)! Envy and wealth become insatiable lusts. We’re never content, never satisfied. We become greedy for more, and money and work become our masters. And for what gain Q wonders.

And Q knows that our needs run beyond the basics that money can purchase. As humans, we have a deep need for purpose and significance. We need to know that our existence, our work, that we somehow matter in this world. We will climb the ladder, work long hours, give until we’re empty, volunteer our time, and donate our wealth- all for a measure of mattering. And for what gain Q wonders.

After all, everything “under the sun” is a “striving after wind.” It cannot be held onto. It does not last.

Ask Yourself: How hard do I strive? For what, exactly, am I striving?

Pause to Pray: Lord, examine my heart and my motives. Shine your light on any envy or greed…

Take the Next Step: As you read news headlines, scroll social media, or go about your work today, be observant. Take note where compensation and significance seem to be the motivation behind peoples’ work.