What’s the Point?
Have you ever had the thought, “What’s the point?” “What am I doing here?” “Is what I’m doing even making a difference?”
I have to imagine you said yes. Who hasn’t wrestled with those thoughts? We can look back in time and find such questions being asked over two thousand years ago because it’s part of being human.
What I mean is, in our humanity, we’ve been given the ability to choose our own course of action— our destiny. Yet you don’t have to look far to begin wondering about life, choices, destinies — before that random thought flits across your mind: What’s the point?
This is exactly what happened to Solomon. And his thoughts are recorded in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
I remember the first time I read these passages and thought, poor guy, he sure had a bad attitude. But 30 years later, with a little more life under my belt, I read his words and could relate.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-5,9 NKJV)
The word vanity here isn’t referring to excessive pride, but instead is a reference to things done in vain. Solomon is calling life trivial or pointless. He reached a point where neither his wisdom nor his wealth satisfied anymore. He walked about his gardens observing how trees grow, produce fruit, drop their fruit, and then do it all over again— year after year. And he began to observe this was true of humanity too— a cycle of repetition — and he asked himself, “What’s the point?”
I think his question is valid for the person without Christ. It is vanity to chase riches and fame (for no other purpose than to achieve riches and fame), for in the end, they bring no real satisfaction. A person is born, grows, hopefully does something good with their life, and then they die — this is the cycle of a godless life. And if that’s all there is, then I agree with Solomon: What’s the point?
But thankfully, I have found the reason for my existence— the purpose of it all. It is the story of Jesus. As He came to the earth to point us to the Father, so now our lives are purposed with the same task. But it’s not redundant or trivial or pointless.
Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again (John 3:3). Nicodemus didn’t understand this concept until Jesus said,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
In other words, whoever puts their faith and trust in (clings to) Jesus doesn’t have to live a pointless, lost life. No, we understand now, there is more!
Eternal, everlasting life doesn’t start when we die. Eternal life starts the moment we give our hearts to Jesus. And this new, born again life has purpose. Despite the cycle of seasons and generations, our hearts look to the Creator of time and life, willingly laying aside everything else with the understanding that we are called to a greater purpose than just existing— we now carry a responsibility of bringing as many as possible with us into an eternal life — not just a life that cycles and ends.
Thankfully, Solomon discovered this same truth after all his wanderings:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NKJV)
And this is both enough and satisfying.
On the Lack of Lightning Bolts
By: Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.org
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
I memorized these verses years and years ago, along with John 3:16 and other verses that good little children in Sunday School learn. In my five-year-old mind, I associated the proverb with a mental picture of a road stretching out for miles until it merged with the horizon. That was the “straight road” that I could so easily understand – clearly marked, unswerving, and, most importantly, unchanging. All I had to do was trust God and keep following that path. Little did I know, right?
At times the journey has felt more like an anecdote that Abraham Lincoln told of a man traveling through a thunderstorm. Through the mud and the sheets of rain, the poor traveler felt that he would lose his way entirely. The thunderclaps seemed right overhead, jolting his senses every few moments. Only the flashes of lightning helped him keep to the road. Finally, after a particularly loud crash, the man fell to his knees and cried, “O, Lord God, if it’s all the same to you, I would like a little more light and little less noise!”
The major and minor uncertainties I’ve encountered – and will encounter in the future – often leave me with that sentiment. I think back to the promise of paths made straight and grumble that the signposts would be a lot easier to follow if they were in neon. We all ask, is this the career path you want me to take, God? Is this the man you want me to marry? Should I buy this house? Are we supposed to settle at this church? In what kind of school should we enroll the kids? God, I could really use a lightning bolt to clarify things!
It’s easy to forget that the proverb reserves the promise until the last quarter of the verse, not the first. Review the wording of verse 6 with me. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I memorized this verse years ago, but I’m still learning it by heart. Task-oriented person that I am, it’s easier to visualize myself making “progress” towards a goal than it is to stop and refocus on inner attitudes. It doesn’t occur to me that part the plan is simply standing still, waiting, and listening. I demand lightning bolts to see God’s working rather than taking responsibility for the part assigned to me. My part lies in the trusting, the repudiating of self, and a settled confidence that he will work all things for his purpose. Then… the path is straightened. We may not even realize it this side of heaven, but the promise is that he guides our feet when our eyes are on him.
I fully believe that the Lord guides us in specific ways – through the Word, through the counsel of godly mentors, through nudges of the Holy Spirit – and yet we get caught up in the road metaphor a little too much. We’re so distracted looking for the path that we forget a lifestyle of worship. To an extent, it matters less what we’re doing than how we’re doing it. As Paul wrote, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
The wonder of God’s plan for us lies in this – in taking our eyes off the road at our feet and looking to him, God finds our way for us.
Have you ever had heartache so deep or hardship so difficult that it’s almost impossible to stand? Like a giant wave crashing on the shore, some trials threaten to overwhelm us.
We all experience valleys in life. They might be of our own making—for instance, when we choose to disobey God and our fellowship with Him grows cold. Or perhaps other people cause our suffering, in situations such as job termination, marital infidelity, or betrayal by a friend. And sometimes our heavenly Father Himself leads us into the valley. Although He could steer us around suffering, He chooses not to because He has a specific purpose in mind.
Psalm 23 uses four words to describe these valley experiences: shadow, death, fear, and evil. These terms evoke images of oppressive circumstances, grievous affliction, and deep discomfort, and there is no way to hurry through them. That’s because both the depth and length of the trial are determined by the Lord.
Thankfully, God promises to be with us and to use every valley—even those of our own making—for our benefit (Rom. 8:28). It is our job to walk steadily, attuned to His presence and trusting in His promises.
Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” – Proverbs 19:2 ESV
The pressures of daily life can be enormous. Our minds can be dominated by a relentless series of deadlines – work projects, bill due dates, and assignments.
Even the most responsible people can find themselves dominated by these pressures. How can we make wise decisions? What should be our priorities? What factors should we consider?
The Bible presents practical guidelines in dealing with these matters. First, we are to build our lives on our relationship with the Lord and seek Him continually (1 Chronicles 16:11). We are to apply Biblical principles and seek to have a more intimate relationship with God. We are to have an active prayer life, trust Him, commit our ways to Him, and not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). As we trust Him, we can be confident that our plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3).
But even the most mature believers can succumb to pressure. In our urgency to meet deadlines, we tend to rush without considering carefully the options. The Bible warns us, “if you act too quickly, you might make a mistake” (NCV).
As you face decisions, resolve to follow the patterns God provided in His Word. Seek Him daily, continually crying out for His wisdom. Commit your ways to Him, and aim to be sensitive to His Spirit. Be careful not to rush. Remember what David urged us: “Wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
The warrant of faith
By: Charles Sourgeon
‘And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.’ 1 John 3:23
Suggested Further Reading: Acts 16:16–34
If we heartily trust our soul with Christ, our sins, through his blood, are forgiven, and his righteousness is imputed to us. The mere knowledge of these facts will not, however, save us, unless we really and truly trust our souls in the Redeemer’s hands. Faith must act in this wise: ‘I believe that Jesus came to save sinners, and therefore, sinner though I be, I rest myself on him; I know that his righteousness justifies the ungodly; I, therefore, though ungodly, trust in him to be my righteousness; I know that his precious blood in heaven prevails with God on the behalf of them that come unto him; and since I come unto him, I know by faith that I have an interest in his perpetual intercession.’ Now, I have enlarged the one thought of believing on God’s Son Jesus Christ. ‘Believing’ is most clearly explained by that simple word ‘trust.’ Believing is partly the intellectual operation of receiving divine truths, but the essence of it lies in relying upon those truths. I believe that, although I cannot swim, yonder friendly plank will support me in the flood; I grasp it, and am saved: the grasp is faith. I am promised by a generous friend that if I draw upon his banker, he will supply all my needs; I joyously confide in him, and as often as I am in want I go to the bank, and am enriched: my going to the bank is faith. Thus faith is accepting God’s great promise, contained in the person of his Son. It is taking God at his word, and trusting in Jesus Christ as being my salvation, although I am utterly unworthy of his regard. Sinner, if you take Christ to be your Saviour this day, you are justified.
For meditation: Abraham is our example of saving faith (Romans 4:11–12). In his head he was convinced that God could do what he had promised (Romans 4:21); in his heart he trusted God (Romans 4:20); God accepted his trust and attributed righteousness to him (Romans 4:22). This is how we are to trust in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 4:23–25). But is this what you mean by ‘faith’?