Yes, I did! I just asked the big question. THE question! What is the meaning of life? (and no, galaxy hitchhikers, it is NOT 42!)
This is the same question posed by the wisest man to ever live. Solomon based his wisdom writings in the book of Ecclesiastes on this question. He was the wisest man who ever lived, so you should not be surprised that he would determine an answer. You may be surprised at what it is, though! Solomon thought long and hard, searched far and wide, and pondered night and day. His conclusion? Everything is MEANINGLESS.
Are you surprised? I was! As I prepared my lesson for THAT class, I was shocked that such a famous biblical character would be so hopeless! The tone of the book is extremely depressing! And nestled between the praises of Psalms and the wisdom of Proverbs on one side and the intense shows of love in Song of Songs on the other, you wouldn’t really expect to find such hopelessness.
Solomon was the wisest man to ever live as well as one of the greatest kings of Israel. He had it all. He did not want for anything. But with all his wealth and all his blessings, he discovered what many of us already know: you can’t take it with you.
Ecclesiastes 2:11 (CEV) Then I thought about everything I had done, including the hard work, and it was simply chasing the wind. Nothing on earth is worth the trouble.
Yikes! That’s depressing! He even goes on to talk about the evil we encounter in this world:
Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 (CEV) I looked again and saw people being mistreated everywhere on earth. They were crying, but no one was there to offer comfort, and those who mistreated them were powerful. I said to myself, “The dead are better off than the living. But those who have never been born are better off than anyone else, because they have never seen the terrible things that happen on this earth.”
Double yikes! It is better to be dead?! Better yet to have never been born?! This is a man who hated life (even said just that [Ecc. 2:17]!!)
As I pondered what the message was for my class, it dawned on me… this man, despite knowing the Lord, had no hope. Of course he didn’t! Why should he? He lived more than 20 generations before the Christ!
1 Peter 1:3 (CEV) Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.
A hope that lives on… Jesus is who we live for. Jesus is our hope. Solomon, though wise as he was, did not get to experience in his lifetime a relationship with our Risen Savior. Of course he would easily fall into the pitfalls of feeling hopeless.
Ecclesiastes is full of wisdom, though. I mean, it is not all depressing. He speaks of our hard work being a gift from God (5:9). He advices the importance of having friends (4:9-12). He passes on the wisdom that God’s timing is perfect.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) He has made everything beautiful in its time.
And his parting words of wisdom are the best answer to the meaning of life:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (CEV) Everything you were taught can be put into a few words: Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about.
Yep! I’ll rifle through all the depressing ramblings and teachings to get to this gem of wisdom! I will even add to it (with your permission, King Solomon)… Seek a relationship with our Risen Lord, for your hope and future is found in Him. He will not let you down. He will not let you fall. He will make everything in this life worth the journey.
Have you accepted the invitation for a personal relationship with Jesus? I would love to help you if you haven’t. Trust me… it will be the best decision you will ever make!