The Lysol toilet bowl cleaner with the patented angled cap was in my right hand and the over-used blue scrubber that should have been discarded approximately a month ago was in my left hand. The aromatic combination of the scrubbing bubbles and teenage urine hit my nose for the one- hundredth time in the last two hours as I had scrubbed every bathroom in the ten thousand square foot church. As my eyes became transfixed at the vigorously stirred fizzing water I felt falsely raptured in mind because my equilibrium matched the high pressured vortex of the now polished throne. I stumbled toward the sink and splashed the fresh, cool water on my  flushed cheeks and I stared into the reflective mirror and cried out to God, “Is this it?? Is this why you have called me into ministry? Is this why I left my great paying job and comfortable lifestyle to clean toilets??”

My first ministry position at a church was as a building and maintenance director. Since we only had two other part-time employees that were on this team I found myself having to do much of the hands-on work. Before stepping out into ministry, I had been employed as a managing optician for a huge eyewear conglomerate in which I led many locations to produce multi-million dollar sales numbers. For fifteen years I dedicated my time to being the best, conquering every challenge that was thrown my way and I was elevated quickly through the ranks of aspiring leaders. As you can tell by this description, I not only built a “successful” life in business, I also built a spiritual wall of pride and self-reliance.

I stood before the now water splattered mirror with tears running down my face voicing my un-thankfulness and showing contempt for the process that I was unaware that the Lord was taking me through. In my finite wisdom I told God how He should have positioned me in a place that would have better suited my skills and life experience. I lamented and complained to myself like a spoiled brat until I believe God had heard enough of my egotistical blabbering. I heard God remind me that “the greatest among you would be your servant.” Needless to say, I realized that day that I can’t rush God’s process and that I must be willing to allow God to strip away the stains of the world.

So, whenever I get tempted to negatively say to myself, “Is This It?” I check my heart to see if my ideal is created by God and His Word or of my own desire. Some of the time, Father God has to gently place me on his knee and remind me of his perfect Will and that He is God and I am not.

Conversation Starter
Tell about a time you were convinced that something would make you really happy and fulfilled until you actually obtained or experienced it.

Question 1: Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 **Remember the context of this book: this is how life is looked at if God did not play a direct, intervening role in life, and if there were no life after death.
Have you ever felt this way about life?  What was going on in your life at that time?

Question 2:
What do you think “under the sun” means and what “under the sun” are you most attracted to, and most tempted to believe that in it true life is found?
Question 3: Read Ecclesiastes 1:10-11
It seems in verse 10 that Solomon thinks that something has to be “new” for it to have meaning.  In what ways has our culture subscribed to the same idea that something has to be “new” for it to be exciting and meaningful?

Question 4: Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (check it out in the Message translation if available!)
Though much of Ecclesiastes is pessimistic, what wisdom can we take from this passage?  What do these verses say about how we should go through life and the good and bad times that go along with it?  Have you ever experienced this in your life?

Question 5:
You heard Pastor Bryan and Pastor Christine say that an empty cup equals a full life.  What’s in your cup?  (What talents, skills, experiences have you had/do you have) And how is God asking you to empty your cup?

Prayer Focus
Ask God to help you find your rest in Him.  To help you remember that nothing in this world could ever satisfy you, that you can only find true satisfaction in Him.  Ask Him to show you how He wants you to empty your cup.