Reading the Word
Ecclesiastes 6:7–12 (ESV)
7 All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.
8 For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living?
9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
10 Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he.
11 The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man?
12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?
Understanding and Applying the Word
What good is constant toil? Man works all day to supply his food for that day, but the appetite is never satisfied. We only become hungry again and must continue to toil day after day. What advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does a poor man have who learns how to conduct himself in the world? It is all vanity. The end is the same for all.
Verse 10 reminds us that everything that comes to be has already been named. It is not in our power to change these things and they are under the authority of One greater. God is in control and there is no disputing with him. Our lives are fleeting and finding meaning in the daily labor is vanity as our end still comes.
When we stop to think about our daily routines and the things we work hard for, we can become disillusioned. It can all become so meaningless. In fact, if this life is all there is, it is meaningless. However, if there is One greater who is in authority over all things, then we do not lose heart. In fact, because God does exist, we know there is meaning to it all. We are not simply feeding our appetites and then dying, but we live for something greater and lasting. Do you want to find the ultimate reason for your life? Look to Jesus Christ.
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