Session 5

Why do I even try?

From Ecclesiastes: A 20-Day Devotional

Have you ever been blindsided by a work lay-off or the onset of a chronic illness? Maybe your savings was wiped out for unforeseen home repairs. Sometimes, all it takes is one or two bad breaks to leave us thinking: Has this all been for nothing?

Financial hits reveal the frailty of our own empires and legacies, our temporary glory.  In Luke 12:21, Jesus warns us, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

When Solomon’s empire spiraled out of control, he saw that wealth had no meaning beyond this life. In Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, Solomon writes, “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving…? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest.”

Though Solomon lived thousands of years ago, he knew how it felt to have work demands deplete him of peace and rest.

God used Solomon’s frustration to refocus his attention on his motivation. Frustration is always a good indication of misplaced motivation. One of the best things we can do when we’re growing frustrated is contemplate whether our work is self-centered or God-centered.

Frustration is a good indication of misplaced motivation. 

Fulfillment and peace come from aligning our efforts with God’s plan and purposes. We have the most fun and feel the most purposeful when we listen to Jesus and do what He says.  As Solomon goes on to write, “To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness…” (Ecclesiastes 2:26).

The way to build a legacy that lasts is to build it around Jesus. God transforms frustration into fulfillment when our legacy is focused on serving Him. God has uniquely gifted each of us, and everything we do for Him will have eternal significance.

When our lives are centered on Christ, we discover the lasting hope 1 Peter 1:4 describes: “ into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”


  • Is there any part of your life that feels meaningless right now?
  • Consider your actions over the last week. Are you striving to build your own empire and legacy?
  • What’s one step you can take this week to put Jesus at the center of your world?

5 of 20

Devotionals From This Study

to Discover More

Session 1

Make a difference

Your life will be wasted. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the decisions you are making right now. After a long but...

Read Devotional

Session 2

Wisdom is meant to be shared

What would you do if you had more money than you could possibly imagine? Consider that you had worked hard for every penny earned, and yo...

Read Devotional

Session 3

How to extend your holiday high

After much anticipation leading up to it, Christmas has again come to an end. The trees are dismantled, the ornaments carefully packed aw...

Read Devotional

Session 4

Good news: life is meaningless

Have you ever come to the end of a long season of work and thought it was all pointless? You'd done your best, but it wasn't enou...

Read Devotional

Session 5

Why do I even try?

Have you ever been blindsided by a work lay-off or the onset of a chronic illness? Maybe your savings was wiped out for unforeseen home r...

Read Devotional

Session 6

Will this season ever end?

Ever noticed how the seasons of the year are similar to the seasons in our lives? Summer flies by while winter lasts forever. In our live...

Read Devotional

Session 7

I want justice

It’s a story for the ages. The person we thought we were close to hurt us so badly it keeps us up at night. The very thought of the...

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Session 8

How to be happy

What do you think about when you hear the phrase "the American Dream?" For many of us, the American Dream is about acquiring— getti...

Read Devotional

Session 9

How do you measure success?

Success is often measured by results. We look at the final score of the big game or the balance of our stock portfolio to measure how suc...

Read Devotional

Session 10

What’s integrity worth?

As followers of Jesus, we’re committed to living by God’s standards, such as integrity—saying what we mean and doing wh...

Read Devotional

Session 11

Mo’ money, mo’ problems

King Solomon was the wisest, richest man in the world, his fame reached the ends of the earth, making him a celebrity of his time. His je...

Read Devotional

Session 12

Stop your pining

Being content is not always easy. Our homes are clean and decorated, but Pinterest has so many new ideas! We have closets full of clothes...

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Session 13

I can’t do this

Imagine babysitting a friend’s children and one of them falls off of his bike. He falls into a mud puddle and scratches his knee. Y...

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Session 14

Life is not fair

“There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get wh...

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Session 15

A reason to live

How many times have you heard someone say: "The only sure things in life are death and taxes"? The person who originally came up with tha...

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Session 16

How to find wisdom

Have you been pleasantly surprised by the wisdom you received from someone who didn’t appear to have much to offer?  When we ...

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Session 17

Do your decisions lead to regret?

Fools are not always clowns or jesters. Fools in Ecclesiastes, like a lot of us, lack self control, talk a little too much and give thems...

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Session 18

Pity party crasher

“However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many......

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Session 19

How to stay on track

“Recalculating…Make a legal U-turn," directs the electronic voice as you struggle through unfamiliar streets. You feel overw...

Read Devotional

Session 20

The pain that leads to progress

Not all pain is the same. There is pain that pulls us down, and there is pain that leads to progress. There is pain we should prevent, an...

Read Devotional

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