As we have been working through the book of Ecclesiastes together, there has been a compelling reality that I believe Solomon is trying to help un understand. He wants everyone that hears his voice or reads his words recognize that life was intended to be lived. In fact, I think if Solomon were with us today he would say live like you life depends on it! Living like your life depends on it is not normal.
In fact I would say most people go through this journey with a whatever happens mentality. There is no real intentionality or direction. Furthermore there is no real emphasis on pursuing the true life that only God offers! Ecclesiastes is a reminder that we should live a life of faith and courage passionately rooted in Christ because there is nothing on this earth that can truly satisfy.
In chapter 2 Solomon reminds us that no amount of human effort, accomplishment, wisdom, or folly produces ultimate satisfaction in this life. Pursuing happiness, fulfillment, or meaning only in this life, with no thought of eternity, produces frustration and even despair. It leads to a sense of emptiness and a realization that there is something important missing. True meaning in life comes only through our reverent relationship with God through Christ. At the end of the day we experience great despair when we walk in the rhythm of this world. Listen to the words of Solomon from Ecclesiastes 2:18-19 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.
Solomon’s point is simple – This life consist of two types of people – wise people (who have their eyes open) and fools (who have their eyes closed). Solomon is wise, but he’s realizing that, in the end, the same thing happens to the wise man and the fool – they die. Different paths, but same destination. So he asks a great question – What’s the point? Solomon reflects on life and he concludes that it amounts to nothing! The reality of death is a game changer. The fact that we will all experience death throws a wrench into the equation.
Philip Ryken, in “Why Everything Matters,” said: This is one of the great frustrations of human existence. We are born with a deep longing to have something, make something or do something that will last. Yet the under-the-sun reality is that we will spend our whole lives working to gain something we can never keep.
Do you feel encouraged? Remember, this is a tuff text! The good news is that Solomon is not going to leave us in this place of frustration. Remember that a life full of courageous faith in Christ forces us to find satisfaction in the only thing that can truly satisfy.
I leave you with these words from Alexander MacLaren, the Baptist lay preacher of the 1800’s - Men come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent and impotent. He abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and, therefore, sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines for evermore.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.