Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Futile, All is Futile

-"Futile! Futile!" laments the graduate,
"Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!"

-What benefit is there in all of a man's effort,
in all the outcomes he strives for?
-For whatever he accomplishes is temporary.
-If he is successful in reaching a goal,
it is quickly replaced by another.
-It vanishes away like vapor off coffee.
-This, therefore, is futile,
like chasing after the wind.

-I found that all of what I strive after is empty,
lasting only for fleeting moments of joy.

-I strove after education,
to be fully prepared for working in the Church.
-I endured Bible college and seminary,
pondering the mysteries of God's grace.
-I sought to know God's Word,
and to perceive its nuances in Greek and Hebrew.
-I clung to learned professors,
to be mentored by their character and insights.
-I groped for all manner of wisdom and understanding,
so that I might fully glean from seminary what it offers.

-However, this was futile and chasing the wind.
-For the Greek and Hebrew are quickly forgotten,
and the insights are not in demand.
-Grades do not influence success,
nor does the diploma bring employment.
-It is like vapor that one exhales on a cold day.

-I also dedicated myself to responsible parenting,
so as to be a good father to my children.
-I read many books published by Promise Keepers,
and written by reputable Christian authors.
-I applied these insights to rearing my children,
balancing discipline and affection with them.
-I worked to be an example,
a godly role model for them to follow.
-I labored in all manner of ways to be a good father,
so that my children would be fully equipped to live
wise and productive lives glorifying Christ.

-Yet this too was futile and chasing the wind.
-For success is not passed on through generations,
and an achieving father does not guarantee
productive offspring.
-From one father comes both those successful and those not.
-From one father comes both those who will live wisely,
as well as those that will suffer from folly.
-From one father comes both those about which he brags,
and those for whom he prays.
-Therefore, the manner of the father does not produce
the successful or the unsuccessful.
-This too is like stream rising off a lake in the morning,
futile and temporary.

-I also strove after vocations in the Church,
to apply my training and skills.
-I wrote curriculum and planned sermon series,
to faithfully instruct people on following Christ.
-I led a congregation into developing strategies,
so that they could have a lasting impact in the world.
-I preached with passion insights taken from the Bible,
so that the hearers might apply God's Word.
-I administered the Lord's Supper regularly,
that they might be one with Christ and each other.

-Yet this too was futile and chasing the wind.
-For one congregation grows and another dies,
yet both had pastors performing the same tasks.
-Both may be in the same community,
sharing the gospel and loving people,
yet one thrives while the other closes.
-There is no pattern to it.
-The mystery is beyond the human ability to predict.
-It is meaningless to attempt explaining it.

-I also pursued a career path that best suited me,
that used my greatest skills and passions.
-I accomplished requirements for chaplaincy,
and fulfilled all manner of things for applying.
-I labored tirelessly to complete seminary quickly,
and meet benchmarks for entrance to the Navy.
-I scheduled all manner of life events
to enter Naval chaplaincy this summer.
-I also was surrounded by an encouraging throng
that believed this "God's Will" for me.

-Yet this too was futile, and chasing the wind.
-One takes six months to prepare, yet does not enter,
while another takes three months and does.
-Also, life events may seem to make one career perfect now,
yet one life event 20 years ago may prevent it.
-In addition, careful examination of Scripture reveals
that careers are never among the promises of God.
-There is no predictability to the selection process,
and no obligation from God to grant it.
-Such ambitions are utterly futile,
and chasing after the wind.

-Futile and meaningless! All is futile!

-I gave myself over to wisdom,
that I might know how God manages the world.
-I desired insight with which to counsel,
and illumination with which to teach.
-I inventoried my strengths and weakness,
so that I might apply myself to a ministry career.
-I listened intently to advice from others,
especially those who were succeeding.
-I tried to be of some benefit,
to make a positive contribution in any arena.

-This was totally futile, and chasing the wind!

-For God is not obligated to provide careers,
nor is he bound to make me successful.
-His mercy is shown in the cross,
not in the compensation package.
-Since the Spirit is given freely,
his presence is no sign of special gifting,
nor is it a harbinger of success.
-In God's sovereignty he exalts who he will,
and he makes humble who he will,
and none can discern his pattern.
-For reasons known only to him:
this one is successful, though that one is not.
this one has a rewarding career, though that one does not.
this one is fulfilled in his job, though that one is not.
this marriage suffers divorce, though that one lasts.
this child makes the parent proud,
that one makes the parent pray.
-To make sense of it, when God has not revealed the sense,
is utterly futile, like chasing the wind.

-All that one can do is to:
Love the Lord their God with all their heart,
soul, mind and strength;
and love their neighbor as themselves.
-Beyond this is meaningless speculation.
-One has no more power than simply to
cultivate good relationships,
show respect,
demonstrate generosity,
and perform their work.
-Therefore, be content and enjoy:
the love of your spouse,
the laughter of your children,
the satisfactions that accompany good food,
good wine and good tobacco,
the pleasure of quiet solitude
and the beauty of creation.

-But anxious planning for uncertain futures
are meaningless, futile and chasing the wind.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Nothing is truly futile. You are better and stronger and wiser for all of it...even now. Even 20 years past.

Every day a new door opens, and you are where you are because one day, one of those doors will open to a place where you need to be more than any other place at any other time. Wait for it, old friend.