One More Thing
By Anthony Casperson
You ever have one of those days? The type of day where you ask yourself a question and you really don’t have a good answer for it. Recently, I was going about my regular routine and asked myself, “What’s the point?”
I looked at my work and asked what the point was to drive students to their destination when I just have to do it again tomorrow. As I wrote a blog, “What’s the point when I’ll just have to write another?” Researching a sermon: “I’ll just have to write another one after this.”
I felt like life began to sound like Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures (a cartoon show which aired from 2000-2005). “One more thing.” His catchphrase that always seemed to sound when he was trying to explain anything (and never actually completing his explanation).
One more thing to do. One more thing to say. One more thing to make. One more thing to play.
Work. Errands. Necessary obligations. No matter how much I accomplished, there was always more to do. One more thing.
Even fun things. Friends to hang out with. Games to play. Books to read. Movies to watch. There will always be another. One more thing.
Amazingly, even good things. Praying for people. Speaking the truth of the gospel. Leading others to Jesus. There’s always more people to serve. One more thing.
No matter what I do, I can never truly say that I’m finished. There’s an aspect of incompleteness because there’s always one more thing. It makes me realize that this life is filled with futility.
As I looked futility in the face, I thought of King Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 1:2. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!” Verse 14 continues the thought, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
The word translated “vanity,” or in some translations “meaningless,” has the idea of “breath, nothingness, void” and, I think in this case, is best translated “futility.”
It’s like a breath inhaled and exhaled without much of a thought. It’s like that vapor in winter that’s quickly snuffed out amidst the cold. It’s like a wind blown for but a second and then dies.
The things that we do quickly fade as the next thing comes into vision.
Solomon saw this. He sought wisdom and knowledge only to find that there was more discovery in the world than the moments of a human life. He sought pleasure and discovered that he just wanted more. He built great structures just to discover that there was always more to build.
Everything he did, everything he said, everything he made, everything he played, there was always one more thing.
This life is futile. It’s filled with monotony and repetition. It’s a gaping maw claiming more and more, but never satisfied.
Creation exists this way because of sin. Paul writes in Romans 8:20 that creation was subjected to futility. (He uses the word found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament from Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14.) And why is the world set in this place of futility? God placed this futility that we might seek him as we seek a purpose, as we seek meaning.
You see, this life might be full futility, but that doesn’t mean that it’s meaningless. It doesn’t mean that the things we do in this life are useless. If we seek God, strive to do his work, that gives meaning to the futility of this life. Notice it doesn’t take the futility of this life away. We are found in a sinful world filled with monotony and emptiness. But that futility isn’t meaningless if we are found in Jesus.
The very end of the book of Ecclesiastes shows Solomon writing something very similar. Though in Eccl. 12:8 he repeats that everything is futile, verse 13 commands us still to fear God and do as he commands. That is the sole duty of humanity.
The things that we do in this life might be for just a moment, and quickly undone, but they’re not worthless if they’re done for his name. The name of Jesus makes this futility meaningful as we take one more step in the path God sets before us.
This means that we don’t need to feel depressed or have a sense of anxiety when we see the futility of this life. We’re seeing this sin-filled, futility-subjected life in its unmasked form. It gives us the freedom to continue that one more thing. Knowing that it is futile, but meaningful when done for God.
Oh, and one more thing…