The Futility of Worldly Pursuits | October 17th, 2023

Do you remember the feeling you experienced when you finally finished a big project or accomplished a monumental goal you worked hard to achieve? It felt so satisfying, didn’t it? You may also remember that feeling didn’t last long. At least not as long as you thought it would. When we reach a goal, finish a project, or even fulfill a big dream, we are soon off and running toward the next one on the list to give us that same temporary, gratifying feeling. 

I recently finished reading the book of Ecclesiastes written by King Solomon. As the wisest and richest person who ever lived, He had everything his heart could ever desire. Yet, he came to the conclusion that everything is meaningless and will never satisfy if God is not included in our pursuits.

We are all seeking to have some sort of lasting significance. We try to get more out of life through our work, pleasure, education, and friendships, but it’s just not fulfilling and leads to weariness. No matter how successful we feel, we can never find meaning in life apart from God. It is futile to even try!

All things are wearisome, more than one can describe; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing. Ecclesiastes 1:8

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Once we trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, our significance is in Him. God is faithful to lead us toward creative ways to bring Him glory that perfectly suit the way He made us. It’s up to us whether or not we are going to use the opportunities He gives us but when we do, we can know our labor is not in vain.

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 Corinthians 15:58

God’s Creative Idea to Bring Him Glory

I remember when I got started in 2009 collecting vintage jewelry to repurpose into pieces with a more modern look to wear with today’s trends. I shopped the antique stores, vintage shows, estate sales, and flea markets looking for perfectly sized pieces to repurpose into rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Once they were made and ready to be sold, I toted them around with me to the local boutiques finding several kindhearted shop owners willing to take a chance and sell them for me. It was a successful endeavor and soon I was being asked to speak about the history of vintage costume jewelry to women’s groups in the area.

As interesting as it was for me to learn and teach others about the talented jewelry designers, unique materials used, and current trends of the Golden Era, it was meaningless in light of eternity. But God had a plan to change that more quickly than I would have ever imagined. 

In March of 2012, I went through the heart-wrenching tragedy of losing my mother to breast cancer. We were such close friends and it was devastating to think about living life without her. But through that difficult trial, God gave me the most beautiful idea to incorporate sharing the gospel into my jewelry business and into the topic for my speaking. 

Just like the old vintage jewelry needed to have the brightness of its sparkle brought back and be repurposed into something new, I too needed God to bring my sparkle back. It seemed impossible at the time because of the heavy weight of my grief and sadness but He did! He used my brokenness in a unique way to repurpose me to comfort others through my pain by sharing the good news of the One who completely heals and can bring our joy back in an incredible way no matter what we have gone through. It wasn’t long before He prompted me to use my gift of writing and I published my first devotional book titled, Beauty in a Life Repurposed.

We were not made to strive for endless pursuits of meaninglessness. God provides everything we need to give Him glory in all we do and by doing so, we experience complete satisfaction and significance in Him. 

The Judgment Seat of Christ

What we do while we are on earth will also one day be tested with fire when we stand before Christ at the Bema seat. In Greek, bema is the word used for “judgment seat.” It was an elevated platform on which victorious athletes received their crowns. The purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is to examine a believer’s life. This is not a judgment to determine who will enter into heaven. Our sins have already been forgiven and as Romans 8:1 tells us, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. It is our works that will be tested and we will be rewarded for the things we did for Christ.

What did we do with the resources God gave to us? Did we serve Him with them or use them for ourselves? Did we seek to honor Christ or did we take all the glory? Did we share the gospel with others or keep our mouth shut because we feared what others would think of us or that it might be offensive to them? If our works make it through the testing process, we will be rewarded. If they were simply worldly pursuits, they will be burned up and we will suffer a loss of rewards. 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10 

Tested with Fire

A friend of ours who owns several acres of land often has a huge burn pile raging to clear out dead wood and overgrowth on his property. It isn’t long before it all goes up in smoke, turning to ashes. Those works we do to be noticed and rewarded by others so we can achieve worldly success and accolades for ourselves will all be burned up on that Day of judgment just like that giant burning wood pile. They are absolutely futile if pursued apart from God.

For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Gold, silver, and precious stones represent our good works and faithful service to the Lord. They are capable of being tested and coming through the fire unscathed, brightening with an even greater luster and worthy of being rewarded. Wood, hay, and straw, however, represent those things that are done in the flesh which are our worldly pursuits and will not make it through the Day of testing. They are easily combustible and will go right up in smoke.

When we trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are saved by grace through faith alone apart from any works we have done. Once we are in a relationship with Him, God will show us how we can glorify Him through our good works which He has already prepared for us in advance. And it is such an honor for us to do so! 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Faithful with What He was Given

Michael and I recently took a mini-vacation to the quaint town of Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country. As we popped in and out of the many art galleries and boutiques, we met a custom jeweler sitting in his private studio toward the back of one of the shops. He had his own business called Faith Works Design. I noticed the name on his business card which was sitting on his workbench. I asked him if the “faith” part of his business name was about Jesus. He said, “Yes!” and he began to share his testimony with us. 

His father, Hoytt Rachels, was a preacher for almost 50 years at a small Baptist church in Lubbock, Texas. He shared with us that his father was never ashamed of the gospel and would ask anyone he met if they had a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He loved to talk about Him! Hoytt died at the age of 87 and his obituary said it all:

God was the center of his life. He enjoyed preaching and took any opportunity to share God’s Word.

I have no doubt this man will receive many great rewards at the Bema seat of Christ. He did not need to be the pastor of a mega church with thousands of followers on a social media platform to be rewarded. God is not impressed with that. Hoytt’s church was very small, but he was faithful in his work for the Lord. When he wasn’t preaching, he took the opportunity to share the gospel with those who God put in his path to reach as many as He could with the Good News that Jesus Christ, the only Way, the Truth and the Life, died for their sins and rose again so they could have eternal life by believing in Him as their Savior. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

As you prepare for the judgment seat of Christ, are your works made of gold, silver, and precious stones that will stand the Day of testing as they go through the fire? Or are they made of wood, hay, and straw that will be quickly consumed, turning into a heap of smoke and ashes? 

Jesus tells us in His Word that what we do for Him here on earth makes a difference with how we are rewarded in eternity:

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Revelation 22:12

C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931), a British Christian missionary, wrote a convicting poem titled, “Only One Life, ‘Twill Soon Be Past.” Such a great reminder to us as believers. It is only what we do in this short life for Christ that will matter for eternity. What overwhelming joy we will experience if we are able to lay rewards for our faithfulness at Jesus’ feet when we finally meet Him face to face! 

Only One Life, ‘Twill Soon Be Past

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, “Thy will be done;”
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “’twas worth it all”;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.

*Photo credit – burn pile: Andy Matthews

Kimberly Moore is a blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed and Kingdom Sparkle. To learn more, visit her website at

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