What Are You Chasing?

Chasing the Wind

You get to work each day and have tasks to complete, people to serve, problems to solve, ideas to discover, or things to create. Do you do it in your own strength, or do you rely on God? What if it was all meaningless apart from Christ? In this video from the WorkMatters FUSE Forum, CEO Brad Respess shares how one biblical truth completely transformed his outlook on work and leadership. Brad Respess is President and CEO of Tip Top Poultry, a third generation poultry and food processing company.  

Brad said that the book of Ecclesiastes “revolutionized” his outlook on work and leadership. Read the passage below before considering the following questions. 

Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 (GNTD)

17So life came to mean nothing to me, because everything in it had brought me nothing but trouble. It had all been useless; I had been chasing the wind.

18Nothing that I had worked for and earned meant a thing to me, because I knew that I would have to leave it to my successor,19and he might be wise, or he might be foolish—who knows? Yet he will own everything I have worked for, everything my wisdom has earned for me in this world. It is all useless.20So I came to regret that I had worked so hard.21You work for something with all your wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and then you have to leave it all to someone who hasn't had to work for it. It is useless, and it isn't right!22You work and worry your way through life, and what do you have to show for it?23 As long as you live, everything you do brings nothing but worry and heartache. Even at night your mind can't rest. It is all useless.

24 The best thing we can do is eat and drink and enjoy what we have earned. And yet, I realized that even this comes from God.25How else could you have anything to eat or enjoy yourself at all?26 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness to those who please him, but he makes sinners work, earning and saving, so that what they get can be given to those who please him. It is all useless. It is like chasing the wind.

Good News Translation (Today’s English Version, Second Edition) © 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.

King Solomon realized that—in the grand scheme of things—he was not promised that any of his work, wealth, wisdom, or power would be of any significance to the world after he was gone. His effort was "useless" or meaningless without God, the source of all provision, wisdom, and enjoyment. 

In what ways can you relate to his lament? What words or phrases stick out to you in this passage and why?
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What are some things you might be working for or chasing after in your career—money, security, power, wisdom, influence, purpose? Why are they like "chasing after the wind" apart from knowing and following Christ? How does Christ give purpose to our work?
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Brad said, “I’m reminded daily that when I go to work, there is meaning because I’m in Christ…it allows me to go in and serve others…I thought my effort was going to make my company successful, but now I just think of myself as a nobody.” 

What might you do different at work if you trusted God alone to provide for and sustain you and your business? When is it hard for you to trust Him? What might change if following Christ was your ultimate purpose? How could you remind yourself of this daily?
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In what ways does your relationship with God already impact your work? Where do you find the most satisfaction and enjoyment at work? How do you show gratitude to God?
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God said to Adam and Eve after the fall, “…for dust you are, and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19). King Solomon came face-to-face with that reality and it changed his perspective on all of life and work. May this truth of our humanity humble us and remind us that all of our efforts are meaningless apart from Christ. 

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