An Old Testament character, King Solomon, wrestled with what he saw as the futility of all endeavour in this life:
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.
Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hastening to its place it rises there again.
Blowing toward the south,
Then turning toward the north,
The wind continues swirling along;
And on its circular courses the wind returns.
All the rivers flow into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full.
To the place where the rivers flow,
There they flow again.
All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one might say,
“See this, it is new”?
Already it has existed for ages
Which were before us.
There is no remembrance of earlier things;
And also of the later things which will occur,
There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come later still.
King Solomon was struggling with the “big” questions of life and living. Is life worth living? Are the things that we occupy ourselves in this life worth it?
“Is it worth it?” is a question that I ask myself all the time. Is that which I am doing, even now, worth my time and energy? Is there a return for my hard labour considering my limited physical and emotional resources, and the proverbial time-crunched existence we all experience? Important questions to ask, especially in the light of living but a few short years on this planet, and then passing on to eternity.
Perhaps, the answer is right there before me, though I still struggle to comprehend it, let alone act upon it. What I am talking about is the very limited amount of time that we live and love today compared to living for eternity in the presence of a loving God.
I think that dichotomy between the here and now and our seemingly distant future has tortured philosophers and poets, theologians and the faithful alike. How can I experience life and living, in the fullest way possible, and yet still be conscientious of tomorrow and ultimately eternity?
Do the choices I make today become who I am tomorrow?
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