What does Man Profit?

Ecclesiastes  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What does man Profit?

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Everything is HEVEL, everything is not meaningless.
Temporary and Fleeting, Ungraspable/Uncontrollable “Chasing after the Wind” Psalm 39:5-6, 144:4
There is real meaning to be found in life, true beauty, true joy, true purpose, true meaning in everything we do that is grounded in and looks to God.
There is nothing NOT meaningful in fact. A verse we will likely come back to a lot: Whether you eat or drink. . .
Eating, drinking, every piece of laundry folded to the glory of God . . . NO SECULAR TASK
Jesus lived the perfect life, sinless, perfectly God-glorifying and faithful, and he spent the greatest majority of that life not working miracles, not even preaching the good news, but doing normal, likely mundane, even boring at times carpentry…
Ecclesiastes 1:1-11
All I want to see this morning is the question Qohelet begins with, and how he answers it here in the first 11 verses.
Question (Verse 3): What does man profit/gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes
Generations just keep cycling, disappearing, each having a very short significance. Do you know the name of your great grandfather? How about his father? What do you know about him? He lived 70 years, do you know about them, you from his bloodline, 70 years, 25,000 days he lived, pressing, toiling, striving, anxious, for what? You to have never known his name just a couple generations later. That will be you quickly after you die. You will go into the ground, and all that you did, strived for, accomplished, drifts off into the air as if it never was. And there will be a new generation rise up, anxiously toiling for the same hevel for which you toiled, only for the generation after them to forget their names and not know their works.
The Sunrises, and then it goes down, and then it goes back … nothing new, nothing different.
The wind blows to the South, then goes around to the North, (round earth by the way) … nothing new, nothing different.
The rivers all run to the sea, but to what end, the sea doesn’t get more full, we aren’t waiting for them to fill up, and somehow, despite the rivers all running down to the sea constantly, they never run dry, the water just returns to the beginning point and does it all over again, nothing new, nothing different.
The eyenever sees enough. - - “Life is about traveling!” Really? I want to go on great vacations, see the world, Great, then what, what about after you’ve seen it all, because it won’t be enough, you won’t come to a point where you say, ok I’ve had enough seeing
The earnever hears enough. - - I want to hear the best musicians, go to the best concerts, hear the smartest people talk, be part of the biggest crowds, experience it all! Great, then what, there won’t be enough.
Before the movie the Greatest Showman was ever comprehended, Qohelet sings NEVER ENOUGH
Before the movie the Lion King was ever considered, Qohelet sings the opening lines, these words are from Qohelet!
From the day we arrive on the planet, and blinking step into the sun, there’s more to be seen than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found
But the Sun rolling high through the sapphire sky keeps great and small on the endless round,
The circle of Life
The circle is a deliberately chosen image, this song emphasizing that we our lives will be part of that circle, and we cannot manipulate it, objectify it, or mold it to our personal advantage.
1:9– What has been is what will be, what has been done is what will be done.
1:11– We don’t remember all the trillions of people or things done that happened before us, and the one that come after us wont remember us or the things we do.
The breath of Rene will quickly fade, nothing really different than before that particular vapor appeared.
The human participants in the drama of creation, those who pass across the stage that creation provides, are relatively insignificant in this context.
Psalm 103:15-16
Question (Verse 3): What does man profit/gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
1. He profits nothing. – This isn’t meant to be depressing, its meant to be liberating . . .
2. Profit should not be your aim. If your aim is profit, you have missed the point.
Qohelet says àProfit is not even the aim of Creation itself.
Creation itself is not ordered to produce a surplus through its toil, rather, it is absolutely content to go on with its tasks, Sun return again to the Dawn, Water return again to the river’s head, wind return again to the North only to go South again, to continue joyfully in the work assigned to it by its Creator. WOW
The massive reality of creation critiques the aspirations of all those tiny puny moral beings aimed at profiting, gaining.
There is no reason to think that these individuals should GAIN from their toil when creation itself does not GAIN.
Do you see how paradigm shifting this is? The world says your whole existence should be about GAINING! Move UP, Gain MORE! Qohelet says, CREATION DAILY PREACHES TO YOU THAT THIS IS AN UNWORTHY AND FUTILE GOAL!
Content yourself in the days task, in the place and tasks that God has assigned you today, in the gifts he has given you today to enjoy, and then do it again if he gives you another morning tomorrow.
There is no need for the CHASE, you weren’t made for the CHASE
God says, There is a Better Way. You don’t need to chase a reward, there is sufficient reward in life itself, if it is received as a gift from God and lived well.
Poetically, Qohelet says
4:6 – Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind
Jesus lived the perfect life, sinless, perfectly God-glorifying and faithful, and he spent the greatest majority of that life not working miracles, not even preaching the good news, but doing normal, likely mundane, even boring at times carpentry work.
IF THERE IS GAIN AT ALL – Phil 1:21, if there is gain at all, it lies only in your death – both in your final and literal death, and in your daily dying, which is more relevant to ecclesiastes, which is focused on our time under the sun.
The ONLY gain is to be found in Christ.
Likewise, Qohelet says NOTHING IS NEW UNDER THE SUN! HE IS RIGHT! It is only through Christ that there is ultimately any newness – whether the newness of all things in the future heaven – Rev 21:5, 2 Pet 3:13, or the newness of the life that one finds in submitting to Christ. 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15.
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