Finding the Meaning of Life in a Mixed-up World (Studying Ecclesiastes)
Thinking Scripturally While Reacting Culturally
We are getting ready to wrap up a study of the book of Ecclesiastes on Wednesday nights at the congregation where I attend. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our study of one of my favorite books of the Bible.
For the foreseeable future, I want to go through some of the things we have discussed in this important book on this blog.
Ecclesiastes — A Book that Summarizes the Message of the Entire Bible
What is the meaning of life?
If you ask that question to 100 different people, it’s quite possible that you might get 100 different answers.
Some seem to think that the meaning of life is to collect as many memories as they can — memories of vacations, memories of sporting events, memories other amusements or gatherings with family and friends.
Others might say that the meaning of life involves compiling as many accomplishments and achievements as possible.
Still others may set goals to accumulate X amount of money or possessions before they die.
Others may be intent on obtaining as much personal pleasure as possible.
We live in a world that acknowledges the idea of “YOLO.”
“You only live … once.” I recently asked a group of high schoolers if the kids these days were still saying that — (they’re not!) — but we all understand it to be the case.
We truly only live once! But what do we mean when we say it?
I remember being a teenager (back when “YOLO” was still a thing) and people would usually say it before doing some extreme dare that involved some sort of danger or embarrassment. To be honest, the “YOLO” phenomenon seemed to just be a way to get YouTube views, or views on “Vine’s” (Remember those?)
That said, the idea of “You Only Live Once” is Biblical.
James 4:14 says, “You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
This is such an important realization for all of us. It’s a realization at the heart of the Bible’s message. Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 tells us of the penalty for sin: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And this is not just the message of these verses, but much the message of the book of Ecclesiastes as well.
Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, was the wisest man on earth, and yet he lived a life pursuing happiness in all of the wrong places. He of all people should have known how to lead a fulfilled God-honoring life, but he got caught up in many of the wrong things, trying to find happiness:
Wisdom (for its own sake rather than properly applied),
and getting caught up in “Why?” (Why do various injustices happen in life; why do bad things happen to good people; etc.)?
What we will find as we go through Ecclesiastes is that Solomon at times got downright depressed at what he saw around him, what he experienced in his own life, and especially when he thought about how quickly life passes.
That’s why it is absolutely crucial that …
we, like Solomon, realize “the conclusion of the whole matter” before it is too late!
The conclusion of the matter is this — “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecc. 12:13-14).
Solomon apparently didn’t learn this until seemingly very late in life!
It would behoove us to learn this early in life, and if we do …
Then we won’t have to roam through life searching for meaning. We will have found it in living a God-honoring life that focuses on His will rather than our own, and that is where true happiness can be found.
I plan on writing articles on the book of Ecclesiastes for quite some time. As we walk through this book, let’s ask ourselves the following questions:
What are some things I can do to make sure I have my focus on the principle found in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14?
If everyone in the world applied the wisdom of Ecclesiastes to their lives, how much better would the world be?
Although some might read Ecclesiastes and think, “This is depressing,” is that really the takeaway that we should have when we read it?
What are some things that I tend to become bogged down with that really won’t matter in the end for my eternity?
If Solomon was the wisest man on earth and he still got caught up in “all the wrong things,” how much more do I need to be on guard for the distractions the Devil might throw my way?
I hope you will enjoy our walk through the book of Ecclesiastes. Let’s meditate on these eternal truths, musing about how they affect our day to day lives and ultimately the eternal home of our souls.
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With love always,
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Thanks for reading Park Stars! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.