I can accomplish nothing; I can give nothing back to my Creator. What’s the point?
I’ve just finished reading through Ecclesiastes; can you tell? Ecclesiastes 1:2, right off the bat, tells us that everything on earth is useless. “All is vanity,” writes Solomon, and I know just what he means. Ever get that feeling like you can’t do anything right, or that even if you do, it won’t matter in the end? I’m sure Solomon felt the same way. He writes in Ecclesiastes 2:4-10 about all he has done, about all he has built and acquired. This is Solomon, King of the Jews, the richest and wisest man in the world. In Matthew 6:28-29, when Jesus wanted to point out the splendor of the lilies as beyond that of any man, he used Solomon as his example - Solomon, who had more glory and splendor than any man ever had. And yet what does Solomon write about all this? It is vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
I have to agree with him. And Solomon knows that righteousness and wickedness will both bring him to the same end on earth; in Ecclesiastes 8:14, he writes that few of us ever receive our due and Ecclesiastes 9:1 states that everything is in the hands of God. Proverbs 20:24 echoes that point - who can understand God’s way?
That’s comforting in some ways, and hard to grasp in others. Job 35:2-8 show just how insignificant we are. We can neither hurt God through our sin nor help him through our righteousness. Matthew 19:26 (and Mark 10:27) chronicle Jesus' statement that with man, salvation is impossible. Whatever we do, it will not save us. So what’s the point?
The world would say that “Every man dies; not every man really lives.” That quote is part of a song by John Aldean; it’s attributed to William Wallace; it’s a great theory, really - to recognize that you’re going to die, but you’re alive right now, and get on with it! Solomon reaches a strikingly similar conclusion in Ecclesiastes 11:14. Live in fear of God, and keep His commandments.
But wait - it won’t matter what I do; God won’t be helped or hurt by anything I do (Job 35:2-8). Why does He care?
I asked my mom something along those lines once at one of my middle school orchestra concert. I knew how bad we sounded; I knew how unprofessional we looked. And I was ticked off at having to spend extra time rehearsing. Why do we have concerts? Why do adults even want to hear the awful scratchings of fifty sixth graders eking out “London Bridge” and “Contrasts in E Minor”? It can’t possibly be worth hearing. My mother, loving and wise, told me (and this is paraphrased) that the parents just wanted to rejoice in their children’s accomplishments, even if those accomplishments meant nothing on a cosmic scale. I think God’s like that. Even though, as Isaiah 64:6 says, our righteousness is like filthy rags, He still created us. He created us to give Him glory.
Psalm 24:10 says He’s the King of Glory. All we can do is humbly worship Him. Whatever happens in this life, Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 8:12, it will be well for those who fear Him.