Our scripture this morning for the last day of 2023 is Ecclesiastes 3:9-14.
What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.
On the surface Ecclesiastes is not a very hopeful book. It is attributed to King Solomon, who asked God for wisdom (1 Kings 3:9) but he also received power and riches. Even after all this, Solomon sees earthly life as futile.
If we look deeper, we find he is really saying “earthly life is futile without God”, a view expressed by many learned people. 17th century scientist Blaise Pascal writes of “a God-shaped hole” in us that only He can fill. We find it is not our job to know everything, only to know God and walk in His ways.
We must be content with uncertainty. It is part of trusting God in everything we do. As we approach the beginning of a new year as we reckon time, may we go in the assurance that He is eternal, He is with us, and when we seek Him we can be made whole.
Gracious God, all we have and everything that exists is a gift from You. Help us to use all Your gifts wisely for the good of Your children, that all may know Your love. Amen.