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October 11, 1994

Making a Difference

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Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. ECCLESIASTES 1:4
We like to think we are in charge, but we actually exercise absolutely no control over many aspects of our existence. We may expend an enormous amount of energy in doing our work, all the while thinking that we’re making a significant difference. Let’s be realistic, though.
Generations come and generations go, but the earth stays the same. No matter what we do, the sun rises and sets on its own. Whether we like it or not, the wind blows in one direction and then another. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t stop the rivers from flowing into the sea. No matter how much we accomplish, regardless of what position we attain, the changes we make in the world we work in—even over the course of a lifetime—will be minuscule compared with what God does each day.
Throughout the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon sizes things up and puts them in proper perspective. That’s exactly what he does in this verse. He sizes up the significance of each generation and places that against the perspective of the longevity of earth itself. A single generation is insignificant when compared with earth’s lifespan.
Our lives and our careers should make a difference. But it is God Who makes the ultimate difference. Solomon, a realist at heart, makes his point clear: Whatever we do in life, we must never maximize our impact while minimizing God’s. His impact is forever.

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