says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.'” – Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NIV)
Solomon is known as one of the wisest men to walk the earth, and in Ecclesiastes he uses the word ‘meaningless’ 37 times. In the first seven chapters of the book he tries to find fulfillment in worldly things, such as scientific discovery, philosophy, alcohol, luxury, etc. He cannot find true fulfillment in these, thus coming to the conclusion that all these things are meaningless.
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 8:10-11 (NIV)
Starting in Chapter 8, Solomon brings God back into the picture and describes how life should be lived – living to serve God. He comes to the conclusion throughout the rest of Ecclesiastes that without God, there is no truth or meaning in life. People accomplish many things in their lives, both good and evil, but all of those accomplishments are meaningless when they reach the end of their lives. The only accomplishments that matter in life are those that are done while serving the Lord, because those are the ones that will have any real affect on the lives of those around us. What Solomon advises at the end of the book is to acknowledge God from youth and follow His will.
“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NIV)
Ecclesiastes offers Christians a look at the emptiness that fills the lives of those who do not know God. What I find troubling is that most of those people do not even know that their lives are full of emptiness or understand why they feel like their life doesn’t matter. Without salvation, there really is no purpose or direction in life. A life without God is frustrating, cruel, brief, and, to put it simply, meaningless.
This book isn’t meant to discourage people from living their life to the fullest. Rather, it’s meant to make you stop and think if what you’re doing is worth it in the end. Are you doing it for God, or yourself? When we start living our lives to serve God we find that there is more purpose behind even the smallest of actions and life becomes more worth living.
A life serving God is anything but meaningless.