Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsSaturday 27 Nov 2021Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
I recalled in Part 1 the words of The Beatles’ song “Nowhere Man”:
He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
- Read Nowhere Man – Part 1
The Sisyphus syndrome
It can be quite confronting to ask yourself: Do I know where I am going in life? Do I really have an ultimate point of reference or a meaningful plan? Where am I going to, what is my direction or destiny? Maybe this morning you have no idea where your life is headed.
According to an old Greek legend, a man named Sisyphus offended the gods, and they decided to punish him. So they made him push a heavy round stone to the top of a mountain. But when he got it to the top and let go of the stone, it rolled back down to the bottom. And he’d have to start all over again. Over and over. And this was his punishment for all eternity. And that is called the ‘Sisyphus syndrome’—always working hard and never accomplishing anything.
I think many people feel that way. A boring job, day after day, can sometimes feel like pushing a stone to the top, only having to do it again tomorrow. No-one is really immune to the Sisyphus syndrome. It’s a sense of futility—getting nowhere as The Beatles’ song talks about in ”Nowhere Man”. This feeling can come especially at the end of a year when you look back and it seems you’ve been going round in circles, doing much the same thing day after day. Has anything really changed? What have I really achieved in the past 12 months?
The wisdom of King Solomon
Did you know the Bible has its own account of life without meaning or direction. The book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament shows this. It shows you can be the richest, smartest, most successful person and still feel empty and insignificant. The book starts out as:
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem; “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless. Everything is meaningless”.
Who was saying this? None other than the mighty King Solomon, although he avoids using his own name, calling himself ‘the Teacher’. He had been handed the highest and best chance to succeed in life. He was a king, had phenomenal wealth and more wisdom than any other man. He asked God for wisdom, which was given. He was powerful and sought after for his advice. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines, but his life turned sour. As an old man his life fell into ruin, and it appears he wrote the words of the 12 chapters of Ecclesiastes. It’s well worth taking the time to read them.
Solomon says that after years of hard work and brilliant thinking, what has he got to show for it? Nothing:
What does a man gain for all his work? Generations come and go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and sets; the wind blows to the south and to the north. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.
Everything seems to be going in circles, always moving but never getting anywhere. What’s the point of life? What value or meaning do our lives really have? We die and disappear and the wheels of nature keep turning. Solomon says all things are wearisome. The eye has enough of seeing, and the ear is full of hearing. There is nothing new under the sun.
“Without the help of the Lord it is useless to build a home or to guard a city.” Psalm 127:1-2
Remember these thoughts were written by a brilliant man, the result of careful study and realistic observation and thinking. In Ecclesiastes 1:12-17 he writes:
I, the Philosopher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven.
What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen everything done in this world, and I tell you, it is all useless. It is like chasing the wind. What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.
I thought to myself, “Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” I was determined to learn the difference between knowledge and foolishness, wisdom and madness. But I found out that I might as well be chasing the wind.
Everything is meaningless—without God
Here was a man relying on his own abilities—he wasn’t listening to God. He knows God exists, but he is not allowing God to be his Lord, or a Friend to be trusted, or a Heavenly Father to be loved.
Without God in our lives, we are nowhere people—we’re really going nowhere. Like the psalmist said in Psalm 127:1-2:
“Without the help of the Lord it is useless to build a home or to guard a city. It is useless to get up early and stay up late in order to earn a living. God takes care of his own, even while they sleep”.
The Lord made us for himself. He created the universe through his Son Jesus, and he designed all things to find their meaning and fulfilment and happiness in Christ. Jesus came into the world, died on the cross for our sins, and sent his Holy Spirit to fill our emptiness and give us new lives .And for those that trust him, that changes everything in life. If you know Jesus as Saviour, life need never be boring.