Six Habits Similar to Chasing the Wind

Updated on April 23, 2020
MsDora profile image

MsDora, former teacher and Christian counselor presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.

Chasing the Wind
Chasing the Wind | Source

“What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? . . . Everything is wearisome beyond description . . . and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind (engaging in meaningless activity).” Ecclesiastes 1: 3, 8, 14 NLT.

This sense of futility may well be the attitude of some individuals who are frustrated at the inconvenience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their efforts to control their time and movements become pointless, and they may throw up their hands in despair. But worrying over conditions that we cannot control is only one of several habits which may be labeled meaningless.

Throughout Ecclesiastes, credited to the authorship of King Solomon, we find six destructive habits which are similar to chasing the wind. As we read them, let's take inventory of our attitudes and habits. Let's be intentional about choosing habits which can increase our productivity and feed our sense of purpose.

1. Seeking to Know Everything

"So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind." (1:17)

Presidents and kings have proved their ignorance in understanding the coronavirus. There's no shame in that; it is an enemy which their armies cannot destroy. Medical authorities have confessed that they are still learning, so they can perform effectively. Learning continues for a lifetime.

If the aim of individuals seeking knowledge is to boast, or to gain the reputation of being experts, they are likely to face embarrassment over and over. They will meet others who know more than they do in several areas of learning.

A better habit than seeking to know everything is to learn all one can, with the intention of sharing information and cooperating in team efforts to produce results for the common good. We can learn from each other.

So I set out to learn everything . . . all this is like chasing the wind." (Eccl. 1:17)
So I set out to learn everything . . . all this is like chasing the wind." (Eccl. 1:17) | Source

2. Working Hard Without Gaining Satisfaction

"But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. . . So I came to hate life because everything . . . is meaningless—like chasing the wind." (2:11, 17)

Working hard is honorable, but working hard without gaining satisfaction is one of the most common ways of chasing the wind. Dissatisfaction may be caused by insufficient pay, humiliation from the employer or rewards which are meaningless. Solomon was self-employed, and for all his troubles, his trophies meant nothing.

To avoid this dilemma, pray for God's guidance in setting goals according to one's God-given purpose. If desirable paid assignments are temporarily unavailable, invest free time on weekends or after hours, in the vocation of choice. This will provide some satisfaction, and later, there may be openings which require that experience.

3. Gaining Wealth but Not Divine Favor

"God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind." (2:26)

King Solomon appears on the list of Richest People of All Times, with a personal fortune which could have surpassed $2 trillion (£1.42trn) in today's money. There's nothing wrong in owning wealth; but without peace of mind, joy, love of life and family, wealth does not bring satisfaction. It only seems to cynics like Solomon that God gives their wealth to His loyal followers. The rich would be surprised at how little money some of these happy people have. It is their connectedness with God which gives them joy and peace. Such a connection will bring the satisfaction which the wealthy are seeking. Solomon's appeal at the end of the book (12:13) is to fear God.

Solomon's Possessions

Structural Designs
Natural Designs
People and Animals
huge homes
beautiful vineyards and flourishing groves
male and female singers and slaves, concubines
treasure from many kings and provinces
water reservoirs
gardens and parks
herds and flocks
great sums of silver and gold
Daily food requirements for Solomon’s palace included 30 cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry. (1 Kings 4: 22,23)

4. Achieving Success Powered by Envy

"Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. . . And yet, 'Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.'” (4:4, 6)

This habit is pathetic because it is not motivated by a personal need, but by a destructive desire to want what the other person has. The desire intensifies the longer it is harbored, and is often followed by the temptation to obtain the object (or status, or reputation) by illegal or criminal action. To self-destruct in the effort to gain someone else's possession is the ultimate in chasing the wind.

Rather than try doubly hard to get what the other person has, evaluate one's real needs and learn productive measures to fill them.

Most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
Most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. | Source

5. Thriving Temporarily on Popularity

"Endless crowds stand around him, but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind." (4:16)

This temporary popularity is most obvious in the life of politicians. Solomon, his father David, and his son Jeroboam all experienced fickle popularity during their reigns. The comment from the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is as true for our generation as it was for theirs.

"The reign which begins so brightly shares the inevitable doom, and ends in darkness, and murmuring and failure… The glory of the most popular and successful king shares the common doom and is but as a feeding upon wind.”

Kings as well as commoners who decide to thrive on popularity have the lifelong job of finding new people who will root for them. It takes very little for folks to shift their loyalty. Better to deserve selection based on qualities and track records of noble performance, than seek election based on popularity with a fickle crowd.

6. Nurturing Discontent Instead of Gratitude

"Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind." (6:9)

We're back where we started. During the pandemic, we are experiencing the futility of wishing for the privileges we have lost. Life is too precious to be spent nurturing despair. Instead, let us express gratitude for the blessings we still enjoy. Let us appreciate our breathing and the space which allows us to stand six feet apart.

Hopefully, our new found gratitude will be become a way of life. Instead of chasing the wind, may we search for and find rainbows. May we notice the spark in each other's eyes—the spark from our smiles, which no mask can completely hide.

© 2020 Dora Weithers


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    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for your feedback, BlogChick. It takes practice to develop good habits, just keep at it!

    • Theblogchick profile image


      2 weeks ago from United States

      I think you have outline some greats points here Dora. Nurturing discontent instead of gratitude is one that i struggle with. Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Denise, thanks for your feedback. I appreciate your time and effort to read and comment.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      4 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      I really appreciate your point of view. These are all very good points to take to heart. I especially like not seeking wealth out of envy and working hard but for the satisfaction of a job well done.



    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      6 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Lawrence, thanks for sharing. I love Mike's attitude, and we can pray that prayer from St. Francis over and over for our own peace of mind.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      This hub reminds me of an old neighbour we had when we first got married.

      Mike was the kind of person who when you asked him how he was doing his reply was, "Still upright and sucking air, so I'm thankful for that!"

      I think we do spend too much time chasing the things we can't change.

      I often think of the prayer of St Francis.

      "Lord, give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference"

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Rajan, for sharing your insightful observation. Your conclusion is totally true.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      The current pandemic has shown that hankering after possessions is like chasing the wind. Being satisfied with what one has and offering gratitude for it is the way to go.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Dream, thank you for sharing. Your comment by itself makes me happy that God put this article on my heart to write. I am encouraged!

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      2 months ago

      Dora Weithers I often like to relax and unwind and let my thoughts do my writing. Then other times I drift away and can read hours on end. After reading I use to get so aggravated that I couldn't remember all that I read. Many people I know can remember almost word for word but don't bother to read. Then I found myself reading less and less. After reading your hub it made me realize that I was in search of everything I could try to remember. That wasn't as important as learning something from what I read. It took me all these years to learn one simple lesson. I did the total opposite. I would try to find ways to remember more. Memory tricks and speed reading. Most only helped temporarily and even when I remembered more I still wasn't happy. I still focused on all that I couldn't remember. I didn't want to remember more to boast or to show off. I wanted to know more so I could learn more. Maybe the secret isn't to read everything but to enjoy what little we do read. Thank you so much for helping me with a fifty year old problem. Pleasant dreams.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Cheryl, thanks for your encouragement. I feel the same way about you.

    • Cheryl E Preston profile image

      Cheryl E Preston 

      2 months ago from Roanoke

      Thank you for another amazing story that makes us think. You are truly anointef

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Shauna. We sure have lots of time now to figure out what's important and what's not. I appreciate your comment.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      Dora, this is such an appropriate and timely reminder to keep ourselves in check and make each moment count. Your last paragraph says is all.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Peg. You gave a precise conclusion to the article. Well said!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      2 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Your words are fantastic reminders that all this, too, will pass: envy, popularity, wealth and possessions will have no use to us in the end.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks,William. Truth is, we need so much of this wisdom right now. 'Twould be really good if we pay attention.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Peggy. This is the perfect time for reflection and much good can come out of it.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books, Dora. So much wisdom. Thank you for sharing a bit of it. Might we pay attention!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This worldwide pandemic is surely shaking things up. Perhaps some of the aftereffects will make people reevaluate what is most important in life. Your post addresses some of it here beautifully.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Pam. I love your conclusion: living with gratitude is the only way to live. You and I have grown wise enough to know that.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Sampsons, I appreciate you sharing and illustrating your point. It cost that family the life of their son to obtain their riches. The riches can never bring him back. They paid dearly and I'm sure that they would rather have him, so why envy them?

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, the King James Version speaks about "vanity and vexation of spirit" which is what the new versions render as "chasing the wind." That helped me understand that these meaningless activities are upsetting, not enjoyable.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Liz. Even while you think, please enjoy the weekend.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I enjoyed this article and all six of these habits certainly feel better. I liked the politician paragraph as I thought it was so true. Most importantly living with gratitude is the only way to live Ms Dora.

    • LADS Family profile image

      The Sampsons 

      2 months ago from The Ozarks, Missouri

      Terrific article. Gratitude. There is no point in chasing the wind.

      I'm rarely ever jealous of anything. (I can't even think of the last time. Maybe high school)? If somebody got their "riches" (in whatever form) as long as they came by it honest, I am all for it. Making comparisons is futile and destructive.

      As a matter of fact, being jealous of someone who "has it all" can be really, really misleading. There is a couple, friends of ours, who "has it all". A big house, a grand piano on an authentic huge Turkish rug, nice clothes, nice cars.

      On the outside looking in, one could think "What have they done to deserve this? I work just as hard. I should have all that".

      Here is what they did to "get" all this. They lost their sweet 4 year old son due to a product error. There were years of agony, lawsuits, and finally it was proven the company was in error. They were awarded $15 million dollars.

      If they can find one iota of happiness in travels, belongings, whatever, then I hope they can. They also donate to many. many causes concerning children which is probably more fulfilling to then than anything they can own.

      I got off topic, and I apologize. However, this seems to echo "chasing the wind". If a person knows the facts about "riches", would you really, really want to chase the same path?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Beautifully done. I was not so familiar with the NLT so that was nice. I often have trouble syncing this notion of chasing the wind with enjoying the journey as much or more than the destination.

      But it seems that true godly purpose is what just my make the journey the sweetest.

      Thank you for this marvelous insight.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      You make some very valid points, Dora. You have given us all plenty of food for thought over the weekend.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, you always encourage me when you let your faith shine through. Thank you.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you, Flourish. Gratitude always keep the spirit lifted. Why would we neglect to be thankful when it does so much for our total health?

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Rosina, we can prove now, if we didn't before, that nurturing discontent rather than gratitude will do us no good. Thanks for your contribution.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Four words have been my guiding light for the past fourteen years.....

      Let go, let God!

      Have a wonderful weekend, my friend, and blessings to you always

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 months ago from USA

      I like your conclusion of gratitude. There is much to appreciate even for those who have lost much.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      2 months ago

      Out of all the six bad habits similar to chasing the wind, I think what speaks to me the most is nurturing discontent instead of gratitude, which is meaningless. Thank you, Dora, for sharing such an insightful hub.


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