As a sports enthusiast I enjoy watching the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat. Some athletes miss out on fame — or have it torn from them — by fluke or poor judgment.
- A cyclist, assured of winning, raises his hands in glory only to lose control and crash, allowing rivals to cross first.
- A slalom skier misjudges a bump and throws away months of preparation as she careens into an orange mesh fence.
- A football receiver catches a long bomb but drops the ball at the one-yard line in premature celebration.
These examples echo the wise observation in Ecclesiastes ― one can train endlessly, eat well, get sponsored, and know one’s sport, but with no guarantees. We may think that’s not fair. We usually prefer a merit system — the belief that in matters of sports, relationships, and career we should be rewarded for our efforts and achievements, not sideswiped by irrational forces. We may also think similarly about God — that because we do all the right things, He should bless us and make life breezy.
In the end, the writer of Ecclesiastes resolves that we should enjoy our youth because troubles are bound to come. But he encourages us to keep plugging on, to remember God, and to keep His commands. Why? Because in the end we know our salvation comes freely from God as we accept it by grace, and also that He notices all the ways we do right and serve Him and others — and that in heaven we will be rewarded.
Are you feeling as if life is not going as expected? That your hard work isn’t paying off? That God owes you something for all you’ve done? Take heart and know that God doesn’t miss a thing.
Dear God, forgive me for thinking that you owe me anything! You have given me life, breath, and eternal security through salvation in Jesus. Help me keep on keeping on as I acknowledge your goodness, listen to your ways, and serve you and others for rewards yet to come. Amen.
Go Deeper — When something happens that doesn’t “seem fair,” remember that we as believers have something more assured — grace and mercy.