Ecclesiastes famously says that life is like vapor, life is like wind. Trying to understand everything, comprehend everything, trying to plan and execute your plans is like trying to shepherd the wind. This is what Solomon means when he says all is vanity. He doesn’t mean everything is meaningless. He means we aren’t in charge. Our plans are often thwarted. Things don’t go the way we hoped. But despite the futility of trying to shepherd the wind of our lives ourselves, Solomon says you should fear God, obey His commands, work hard, live joyfully with your wife, eat your bread and drink your wine with a merry heart.
But we might ask: Why? Why should we live in simple, joyful obedience if life is like a wind storm and you never know what’s coming next? Solomon ends Ecclesiastes by saying that these words of wisdom are like nails, driven deep, given by one Shepherd (Eccl. 12:11). We cannot shepherd the wind. We cannot shepherd the wind of our lives. But there is one Shepherd who can. There is one Shepherd who does. He is the Good Shepherd and even the wind and the waves obey Him. He is the Good Shepherd. He knows all of His sheep by name, and He will not lose one of them. He will leave the ninety-nine in search of the one that is lost, and when He finds the one, He lifts it up on His shoulders, and carries it home, rejoicing.
Or change the image: When Jesus took Simon Peter out fishing and the nets were suddenly bursting and the boats on the verge of sinking, Peter fell down on his knees ashamed of his sin. And Jesus said, do not be afraid, from now on I will make you a fisher of men. Literally, Jesus says, from now on you will catch men alive. In that moment Jesus had caught Peter alive. Peter knew his sin and fell on his knees. And then Peter left everything and followed Jesus.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and Jesus is the Good Fisherman. What is Jesus doing right now, in this moment in history, in our world, in your life? He is shepherding the wind and the waves perfectly. He is filling His nets to the bursting. He is catching men alive and bringing the nations to their knees so that He might bring them home on His shoulders. We cannot shepherd the wind, but we are safe in the arms of the One Shepherd who does.