“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV
The past few months have been all consuming. Thanksgiving, Christmas and family celebrations filled our social calendar. At work, I was overwhelmed as I tried to complete matters at year end. My kids were busy finishing school projects. As we rushed from activity to activity, I felt overwhelmed, tired, and frustrated.
In the midst of the chaos, I worried about everything - from what I should wear to the office Christmas party to whether we would have time to clean our house to host family celebrations.
Then, in the midst of the busyness, a friend died. Her death and funeral forced me to step back and re-evaluate what really matters.
My husband loved our friend deeply, and he prepared the message for the funeral. When he spoke about our friend, he did not mention how big her house was, instead, he talked about how welcoming her home was. He didn’t mention whether her house was perfectly decorated and clean because what he remembered was how she opened her home to family and friends. He didn’t talk about how much money she had, but instead, he talked about how generously she loved. He didn’t list her career accomplishments, but he did talk about her steadfast patience and love. He did not mention how much she weighed or how she dressed, but he did talk about how her smile transformed a room.
In Ecclesiastes, the teacher, a man blessed with wisdom and wealth, laments, “Meaningless! Meaningless! .... Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2). Despite being blessed with wealth, a large family, wisdom, and education, the teacher understood that most of the things we chase in this life are meaningless. If we simply move through life, without taking the time to ponder and reflect, we can inadvertently live lives that mean nothing to us or to others.
Like the teacher, I had spent the past months without focus. As I reflected on my friend’s life, I knew that I wanted to be remembered for the things that she was remembered for. I wanted to be remembered as kind, giving, patient, loving, and a follower of Christ. I needed to be reminded that when I die, no one will care what I wore to the office Christmas party. People will not reflect on the cleanliness of my house. People will not care how many possessions I have. What people will remember is how I made them feel.
If you, like me, sometimes lose focus, take time to think about how you want to be remembered. Once you have determined what matters most to you, look at your life. Are you living a life that helps you be the person you want to be?
Jesus, Help me focus on what really matters. I want to live a life that honors You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.