Ecclesiastes 4:4 — The emptiness of living in a dog eat dog world

“It’s a dog eat dog world.  So do whatever it takes to get on top, even if you have to step on others to do it.”

That’s the attitude of many people in the world today.  They see life as a competition.  They see what others have, and they want those things too.  They see what others have achieved, and they want to achieve those things too.  They are constantly comparing themselves with others, trying to best them.

And many people actually achieve great things because of this attitude.

But what does Solomon say about it?  He wrote,

And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  (4)

Why does he say it’s meaningless?  Because ultimately, we can never find the joy and satisfaction in life that God intended us to have.

Part of that joy is working with the people around us.  But when we’re constantly comparing ourselves with others and competing with them, it takes away from that joy.  Instead of rejoicing with their successes, we envy them.  Instead of rooting for each other to succeed, we try to keep each other down, so that we can push ourselves up.  But that kind of attitude destroys relationships, and can make our workplace environment toxic.

Not only that, our work becomes very self-centered.  It no longer becomes about what God wants to accomplish in our lives, but what we want to accomplish.  When that happens, we start straying from the plan that God has for us.

But true joy only comes when we’re doing the things that God created us for.  When we’re doing things that furthers his kingdom.  And what is his kingdom but his work in the lives of the people around us?  The very people we’re competing with and envying for the things that they’ve achieved and the things they have.

And because of that attitude, we’re no longer interested in reaching out to them with the love of God.  Rather, we’re trying to push down.  We use them as stepping stones in order to reach our own personal goals.  We may achieve a lot in this world as a result.  But we miss out on the joy that God intended us to have as we worked for his kingdom.  And everything we have achieved eventually fades away.

One day we’ll stand before God and he’ll ask us, “What did you do with your life?  What did you do with the people I put around you?”  What will our answer be?

What is your attitude as you work?  Are you making God’s kingdom your primary concern?  Are the people you touch in your job your primary concern?  Or is it only your own advancement and achievements?  Living a dog eat dog life will leave you empty in the end.

Let us instead make God’s kingdom our priority.  And in doing so, our work will not only be full of joy, but be fulfilling as well.

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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