I find it fascinating how a simple sentence can have so many different meanings, especially in written form when you can’t tell what the emphasis is on. Take this title for example; “what are you striving for?” If the emphasis were on the “what” then your focus would be on the thing that is in question. But if you change the emphasis of the sentence to “what are YOU striving for”, now the focus is on you, the person being asked. Or we could end the sentence with emphasis to lead the person being asked wondering why they are striving in the first place.

Solomon asked this question in Ecclesiastes 2:22 “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?” Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes you can sense Solomon’s frustration with this question. In all of his God given wisdom, he recognized that most of our lives are spent laboring and striving for things that ultimately don’t matter. Leading him to the same conclusion over and over again “everything is meaningless”

Can you imagine, being granted all the insight of the world, and only then realizing, none of it mattered?? How frustrating that would be and is no wonder why Solomon ends this book with a frustrated cry ““Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”” – Ecclesiastes 12:8 NIV

But he doesn’t leave the reader with this frustration, rather he leaves us with a conclusion to his frustration. Almost as if to say, “I know it seems like this life is worthless and all the things you do in it amount to nothing, but there is one thing that is valuable and will make your life worthwhile.”

That one thing he concludes with is the one thing we should be most focused on. But, if we are honest with ourselves like Solomon was, we would realize that we also spend most of our lives on the meaningless things of this world. Yet I find it oddly comforting that Solomon does not scold the reader for this. In fact the book is filled with gems of useful information on how you can gain from these meaningless ventures if you follow his wisdom.

Isn’t our Lord the same way? He sees our comings and goings all day long and knows that most of our time is spent on the meaningless. Yet His desire is still the same; not that we may prosper in all we do, although that could happen, not that we fail because of our anxious striving, that could happen as well. His desire is exactly what Solomon concluded that we do, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV

I ask you again my friend, “WHAT are YOU striving FOR?” Take a moment to focus on each part of that question. WHAT is most important in your life right now? YOU are the center of your own life, but do you realize you are also the center of God’s attention? That goal you are after, is it going to bring you closer to God?

Today as you go about your pursuit of the meaningless, remember this; God is with you, even in the meaningless, and His desire is for you so that you may fear Him and keep His commandments.

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