For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die! (Ecclesiastes 2:16)
Given enough time, everyone will be forgotten. It doesn’t matter how great you are or how big your afterglow is, there will come a point in time when you are not the topic of everyday conversation, and you will fade into a forgotten memory.
On the one hand, that’s a pretty depressing perspective on life. Essentially, your life is meaningless. It doesn’t matter if you live wisely or live like a fool. Perhaps you will touch someone else’s life for a brief period of time, but even that fades away in the light of eternity.
On the other hand, there’s freedom in the knowledge that you’re not indispensable and that your life isn’t quite as important as you may think it is. If such is the case, then the stress of living the perfect life and being the perfect person dissipates. Instead, there is freedom to focus on living to please God and striving to give glory to Him with your life.
Solomon eventually came to the conclusion that everything done for the sake of one’s earthly existence is meaningless, but those things done for the sake of building God’s kingdom have lasting value. What do you spend your time doing? Building into your temporary afterglow, or seeking to build God’s kingdom?
Father, keep me from being focused on making a name for myself. Instead, let everything I do be for the sake of building You up. Nothing I do for me will have a lasting value, but when I seek to serve You I am making an eternal investment. Give me wisdom to give myself to those things that glorify You.