Life too often feels like a hamster wheel.

  • The salesman clinches a deal only to get back on that wheel to find another customer.
  • The fry cook sends out dish after dish only to clean the grill and start all over again tomorrow.
  • You mow the yard only to have to do it all over again next week.
  • You clean the house thoroughly, but before the cleaning supplies are put away, the dust has already started to return.

It never ends. And we can be left to wonder, “Did I really make a difference?” And lest you think ministers are immune to such thinking:

  • I’ve preached countless sermons, and beyond the “nice job, pastor” comment after the service, I wonder if I make a lasting difference.
  • I’m in my 25th year at LifeWay, and during that time, I’ve developed a shade over two thousand Bible studies. And yet I have times I wonder how much of a difference I really made. Those thoughts don’t happen often, and when they do, I have little time to ponder. After all, before one Bible study is sent to the printer, I’m already deep into the next one. Right back on the hamster wheel.

That’s what life is like “under the sun.” That was one of Solomon’s favorite phrases in the Book of Ecclesiastes. “What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?” (Eccl. 1:3).

In spite of my occasional thought about how much of a difference I’m making, I know I am making a difference. When I look at things above the sun, from God’s perspective—a kingdom orientation—what I do in this life matters. At this point in my life, I may not know the full extent of what I’m accomplishing, but I don’t need to know. What matters is that I faithfully carry out the tasks before me—whether it’s preaching, creating a Bible study, or even mowing the yard.

This life is not all there is. God knows what I’ve done and it has meaning and purpose.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

That truth applies to all of us, not just ministers. When we do our work to honor Him, it matters. No matter how mundane it may feel. No matter how often we feel the endless running on a hamster wheel, what we do matters.

Life has incredible meaning—even in the ho-hum moments—when it’s lived in Christ.

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This post supports the study “When Life Feels Empty” in Bible Studies for Life.