Solomon was the wisest person who ever lived (see 1 Kings 3:10-12). He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes to probe the meaning of life. It’s widely believed that he wrote this toward the end of his life, after he had experienced much of what life had to offer.
Let’s look at some of the treasures of wisdom Solomon wrote down:
- Ecc 1:2, “Meaningless! Meaningless! says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
- Ecc 1:11, “There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.”
- Ecc 1:14, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
- Ecc 1:17, “Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this too is a chasing after the wind.”
- Ecc 1:18, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”
We’re only covering chapter 1 here, but chapter 2 goes on to point out the uselessness of pursuing wealth or pleasure or accomplishing great things.
What’s going on here? Does life just stink?
Solomon is pointing out the futility of living this mortal life to the fullest – apart from God. If all we have to look forward to is death, life is indeed meaningless. It doesn’t matter how much we pursue pleasure, wealth, or anything else that our hearts desire – our life will be unfulfilled, without satisfaction, without joy, without purpose, and without hope.
When my wife was dying after a four-year battle with cancer, we could both take comfort in the fact that we have the hope of the resurrection, and eternal life to look forward to. Even in death, we have hope of future joy. Living a life for God gives us hope. Our life can be fulfilling, with satisfaction, purpose, and joy.
It takes a lot of people a very long time to figure this out. My challenge to you is to carefully consider the meaning of your life today. Choose a life of submission and service to God, and your life won’t be meaningless. Or go your own way, and identify with Solomon’s Ecclesiastes.
- What do you spend a lot of time (effort, or money) on that Solomon, or God, might consider “Meaningless”?
- Have you found anything that gives life satisfaction, purpose and joy? Where would you look?
- What will last?