What gain has the worker from his toil?
I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil-this is God’s gift to man.
– Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 ESV
God didn’t reveal much about eternity to Israel in the Old Testament, but according to Solomon, there it was, written on his heart. His only question was what to do with that sense of eternity. The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s shot to explain the meaning of life, and his answer was “none”. He spent his life looking for a task, or a cause, or a woman, or a drink, or a house, or anything that would prove to be eternal in its effect and therefore ultimately fulfilling. He didn’t find it because God hadn’t revealed it yet.
Jesus finally gave us the gift Solomon was looking for. Something better than eating and drinking off of one’s wages and accepting that as the best God has for us in this life. He gave us the forever-fulfilling gift of evangelism. This is the glaringly missing piece from Solomon’s life that we have today. If he’d had it, he could not have said that life is meaningless. He would have an answer for his eternity question. He would have had a fulfilling work to put his hands to that bore eternal fruit.
This is where my heart wants to run and hide. Ecclesiastes is telling me that evangelism, the thing I often try to avoid and see as the price of my salvation, is actually a gift of my salvation. How terribly ironic it is that I regularly steer clear of opportunities to do the one thing that Solomon would’ve said makes the whole universe make sense.
Forgive me, Lord, for seeing your gift as a string attached. The gift of getting to share the good news of Jesus with people and seeing you turn their hearts to trust in him is not my burden or my price I pay for eternal life. It’s my gift. You could’ve done it all yourself if you chose not to bless your people with this opportunity to be a part of making the world new. Give me a heart that is overjoyed by a chance at having an eternal impact on people and the world you’re saving every day. Thank you for giving me this gift for which I’ve never thought to thank you, and have accepted so begrudgingly.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.