On Sunday, our church family gathered for corporate worship and we continued through our series in the book of Ecclesiastes. The audio recording didn’t work, so in lieu of a podcast, here is a sermon recap:
Ecclesiastes 2:18-26 – Vocation and Vanity
Vocation/work broadly defined as that which occupies our time, energies, and attention whether it be school, work, parenting, retirement, etc.
The despair that comes from Vocation and its causes (V. 18-23)
1. Death and the unknown cause despair (V. 18-19)
2. Our lack of control over others produces disillusionment (V. 20-21)
3. The unrelenting and unending difficulty of work
Why is it this way? Does it have to be so difficult?
Because God is faithful
He is keeping his promise made to Adam in the garden after the fall (Genesis 3:17-19). God communicates the sweeping aspects of the fall (cosmic//communal//individual). He has been faithful to keep his word. We experience the same problems as all humanity. Yet in the darkness, there is a light that illuminates.
The Direction for Vocation (V. 24-26)
The preacher writes in such a way to point us to Godward living in the present. If all of life is a gift, then it must be connected to a giver. Too often we look to vocation of any kind to sustain our souls. We will continually be disappointed. Derek Kidner writes in his commentary on Ecclesiastes, “In themselves and rightly used, the basic things of life are sweet and good…What spoils them is our hunger to get out of them more than they can give.“
Christ transforms our vocations
It is clear from scripture and life itself that vocation is vanity when it is disconnected from faith in Christ. Living “in faith” means that we walk forward (albeit imperfectly) believing God is who He says he is. John Piper asserts that faith is “Being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus not just an assent to truths (past or future) but a heartfelt valuing around treasuring of all that God promises to be for us in Jesus.” We need to understand this not only for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) but for every aspect of life (Ephesians 2:10).
Living a life of faith in Jesus means that He alone will be our satisfaction and joy, not our vocation.
In that we are given eyes to see that God has called and placed us where ever we are and in that place we seek to bring glory to God through blessing others. We walk forward in this with one another in community trusting that as God has been faithful to His promises, He will continue to be faithful to redeem and renew His creation through His church living faithfully in every area of life.