Is Life Meaningless? Find out what King Solomon discovered
By Debra Torres I’ve just finished reading the Book of Ecclesiastes, and I have to admit that at first I was glad to be done with it.
King Solomon, despite all his splendor, must have been going through a pretty rough time when he wrote that book.
Or, maybe his God-given gift of wisdom caused him to see things a little more deeply than I would.
Either way, the book comes across as downright depressing.
In Ecclesiastics, Solomon highlights the monotony of life and a futile theme echoes throughout that all is relatively “meaningless.” I understand Solomon’s complaints, I really do. Sometimes the sameness of my day to day gets at me too.
I get up, brush my teeth, take out the dog, eat breakfast, do my house chores, do my freelance copywriting work, make dinner and go to bed. And, the next morning … I get up and do it all over again.
Now, I know that there are a lot of “fillers” that go in there, but you understand what I’m saying.
Life can get pretty mundane at times. Especially when nothing special seems to be happening.
And it’s easy to want to join Solomon in his heartfelt cry of: “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’” (Ecclesiastes1:2).
It all seems pretty bleak when you take Solomon’s viewpoint, but the more I thought about Solomon this past week and his “meaningless” claims, the more I began to understand them. Just like you, I strive to be my best in my work. And I try to approach my efforts with a measure of excellence. I want to please others with what I do, and each job has to be my best.
But in the end, aren’t we just on a rotating cycle?
Like a hamster in a wheel, we start a day, do our best and then finish it right? Where, really is the meaning in all of that?
I was glad for the commentary in my Life Application Bible. It helped set the record straight on Solomon and his complaints. You see, amid all of the pessimistic viewpoints shown in Ecclesiastes, Solomon does give us a clear path of hope, which unfortunately, because of his own bad decisions, he had to learn the hard way.
“Solomon had a very honest approach. All of his remarks relating to the futility of life are there for a purpose: to lead us to seek fulfillment and happiness in God alone. He was not trying to destroy all hope, but to direct our hopes to the only one who can truly fulfill them and give our life meaning. Solomon affirms the value of knowledge, relationships, work and pleasure, but only in their proper place. Everything temporal must be seen in the light of the eternal.”
The point of Ecclesiastes then, is to reveal life’s true purpose to us and that’s to live for God.
Now that’s some advice worth heeding. It also puts things into proper perspective. I’m not saying that hard work and striving to be excellent isn’t important, I’m just saying that it’s not the end all.
God is. And our commitment to him should be at the pinnacle of our thoughts each and every day.
And to me, well, that comes as kind of a relief. Satisfaction in a job well done, or in a day well spent can only go so far. But when we know that we are living day to day for him, well, that’s a forever kind of thing.
Laura Story stood in front of the restroom mirror and wondered what in the world she was doing there. Her life as a worship leader and touring with Christian artists was, to say the least, crazy from time to time and she found herself searching for meaning and purpose.
She found her answer in the example of Christ.
“For Jesus, the purposeful life was the surrendered life–one surrendered to His Father’s purposes,” she says in her article “What Am I Doing Here?” in “In Touch” magazine. Later she says, “In all of my mess, my shortcomings, and my inadequacy, my purpose is simply to be faithful as God works in and through me. Even though I am often scattered and shattered, I have come to know that God is my God and that I can just be me. The better I get to know Him as my Father, my Savior, and my Healer, the more His purpose becomes my purpose.”
And so, I got up this morning, brushed my teeth and took the dog out. We’ll see how it goes from there. But I do know one thing.
My day will be purpose-driven and fulfilling as long as I keep my eyes on Jesus.
13 Here is my final conclusion: fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the entire duty of man. 14 For God will judge us for everything we do, including every hidden thing, good or bad.
Ephesians 1:11-12The Message
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
Proverbs 11:28The Message
28 A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.