I’ve always been told I’m a responsible person. Even from a very young age, adults always told me I was responsible, and that’s great. I guess I am. But sometimes being responsible is a pain in the neck. Why? Maybe you’ve never experienced this, but being responsible means you get things done. Being responsible means you perform above and beyond expectations. Being responsible means you never let people down. Being responsible means you run yourself into the ground trying to do too many things at once, and before you know it, you’ve said yes to so many people that you’ve become irresponsible on account of having too many responsibilities. How messed up is that?
Being responsible is a good thing. But having too many responsibilities (coupled with a natural control freak propensities) is a recipe for nervous breakdown.
Today’s verse is Ecclesiastes 4:6.
“Better to have one handful with quietness
than two handfuls with hard work
and chasing the wind.”
Before I go too deep into this, I just want to mention that Ecclesiastes is a really strange book. It’s a wonderful book, full of great wisdom and really painful truths, but you have to be careful not to pull verses out of context. Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s ruminations about the meaning of life, and sometimes I think he gets a little sarcastic in there. Ecclesiastes is a book you kind of have to take as a whole, not just a piece at a time. But this verse stood out to me because I’ve come to appreciate how true it is.
I like being busy, but more than that, I like being useful. I crave usefulness. And in my desperate need to be useful, I often take on too much. And at the end of the day, all of those responsibilities and things that I say yes to don’t really add up to much. I’ve spent a lot of time working on projects and doing things that haven’t mattered, that haven’t made a difference, that haven’t left one bit of legacy.
Chasing the wind is hard work. If you’ve never tried, you might not know, but it is. It’s exhausting because you can never really keep up, and you never know where it’s going to blow next. Oh, you may have some success. You may get promoted. You may get more responsibility and more respect and more fame. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that. But aren’t there some times when you long for quiet? You can have both hands full of busyness, chasing your tail, chasing your dream, chasing the wind, pulled in so many directions you don’t know which way is up anymore. And is that enough? Does that satisfy you?
I’m not saying we’re supposed to settle. I’m a dreamer, remember? And I dream big. And I’m going to keep dreaming.
But before you act on your dreams, you’d better make sure those dreams are coming from something bigger than you. You can chase your dreams all day long with both hands full of responsibility, and you’ll never catch them. Even if you catch up, you won’t have a hand free to grab them with.
Be true to your word. Be responsible. But be responsible enough to know when you’ve had enough. And don’t let your control freak perfectionist mentality take over your common sense either. If you’ve got work in front of you that needs to be done, do it. God will honor it.
If you’re going to chase the wind, chase it with one hand free. Don’t grab hold of so many things that they slow you down. If you can chase your dreams with one hand open, maybe you can actually catch them.