Focal Passage: Ecc. 2:18-26
At some point, we’ve all
heard the following encouragement: It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how
you play the game.
As a teenager, I was
convinced the person who invented this axiom never won anything.
However, over time, I’ve
come to see that this phrase is much more than a clever salve for defeat. In
fact, it’s a truth that extends far beyond an athletic contest.
In our passage for today,
the author of Ecclesiastes, identified as Qohelet (“the Teacher”) laments the
realization that he will one day have to leave everything he has worked for to
And who can blame him? His
frustration is palpable, and we can certainly relate to it.
Many of us trudge daily
through work, suffering through five days of monotony so that we can enjoy two
days of weekend bliss (if you’re lucky enough to get weekends off!).
We sleep, we eat, we work.
When we aren’t working, we
think about work. We do that for a few decades, and then leave all we’ve worked
for to someone else.
Sound very satisfying? Qohelet
didn’t think so.
Qohelet’s musings invite us
to ask, “How concerned should we be about what we leave behind?”
To answer this question,
consider this sobering exercise: Imagine what you want to be said about you at
Do you want someone to
mention that you acquired a lot of stuff? That you earned a lot of money? Or do
you want someone to talk about the kind of person you were?
In short, do you want people
to mention whether you won or lost, or do you want them to remember how you
played the game? Do we invite God to be a part of our daily routine? Do we seek
God’s guidance, maybe not as much in what we are doing, but in how we are doing
Regardless of what our job
entails, are we known as employees who are honest and hardworking, as those who
work for our employers as if we are working for the Lord (Eph. 6:7)? Are we
setting a Christ-like example and leaving a godly legacy for those around us
and for those who will follow us?
Yes, our work can be
toilsome. Yet it helps to remember that each moment of work is pregnant with
opportunity, for even in the midst of routine, God is using us to show others
how to play the game.
When we recognize this, we
can experience a satisfaction that only God can provide (Ecc. 2:24-25).