A Meaningful Life

The “Big Idea” for Ecclesiastes is without Christ we cannot be satisfied. Apart from the Lord, we cannot live a life with ultimate meaning.

The philosopher/preacher of Ecclesiastes is King Solomon examining life from a self-centered perspective. Mankind has tried to be happy without God; it is being tried every day by billions of people. Ecclesiastes shows the absurdity of the attempt. Solomon was the wisest of men, and he had a wisdom that was God-given. He tried every field of endeavor and pleasure he could find, and his conclusion was that all is vanity, empty, purposeless. Satisfaction and real meaning can never be attained in this manner.

Vanity occurs at least 37 times in the book. It means emptiness, futility, vapor, that which vanishes quickly and leaves nothing behind.

Under the sun occurs 29 times. It defines the outlook of the writer as he looks at life from a humanistic perspective, not necessarily from heaven’s point of view.

“I said to myself” is another expression that indicates this book demonstrates the pursuit of self-actualization apart from God. God showed Job, a righteous man, that he was a sinner in God’s sight. In Ecclesiastes, God showed Solomon, the wisest man, that he was a fool in God’s sight. This book demonstrates humanity’s folly, its foolishness, in pursuing meaning apart from the Lord.

This might be a good time to remember Moses’ wisdom in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We need God’s perspective on life, not a self-centered humanistic perspective. American novelist Peter De Vries wrote, “Life is a crowded superhighway with bewildering cloverleaf exits on which a man is liable to find himself speeding back in the direction he came.” This need not be you! King Solomon has already explored the road of life exhaustively and given us a dependable map to follow. And if we follow God’s Word, we can be satisfied. We will have meaning. Are you ready for the journey? What will life be for you: vanity or victory? Meaningless or meaningful?