The Pointlessness of Life

This post is a reflection of what I learned and took away from Ecclesiastes. Although Solomon starts off seeming to prove the pointlessness of life, we see exactly the opposite: everything in life always points back to a singular point. That is the purpose of life.

Introduction

Ecclesiastes is one of the more depressing—er, grounding—books of the Bible. In this book, Solomon is both asking and answering the question: what is the meaning of life? Unfortunately, what we often define as worthwhile endeavors, Solomon reminds us are fruitless. If we forget the overall message of the book, this can lead to an overwhelming feeling of purposelessness (both while reading this book and in life). In the end, Solomon concludes that all that matters in life is surrendering to God.
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Does Being Good Get You Anywhere?

When one of my friends graduated from high school, he bragged about having perfect attendance from kindergarten through his high school graduation. The first question I asked him was what it had gotten him. He didn't get a special scholarship. He didn't finish at the top of his class. He didn't even get a nice plague or trophy. All he received was a piece of paper saying congratulations. Meanwhile, I had taken off the maximum number of days allowed pretty much every year since middle school, and I'd received the highest scholarship the state awarded, finished in the top 5 of my class, and earned cords, medallions, etc. to wear at graduation.

On the surface, it seems like what he did was worthless—I definitely thought so when he told me. Why would you put in extra effort or suffer if you don't receive anything? It's only when you put the question in context that you begin to see Solomon's point. Having done what you know to be right is more satisfying, despite the fact that you may not always be rewarded by the world. We may have to wait, but after judgment day, we will receive our rewards from God. Further, we should be acting accordingly simply because it's right, not because we expect to get something out of it.

In general, this is how life works: sometimes we put in all the honest time, work, and effort we can only to fail, while the people who seemingly did nothing that reap all the rewards. That's discouraging. It's even more discouraging when we have the mentality that if we follow God and do what He says, our life will be rainbows and unicorns. We see ourselves failing despite doing our faith and lose faith! However, God's rewards are long term; we won't always get our blessings in this life! Not to mention, Biblically, most of God's people suffered greatly. These people were persecuted by the government, by Satan, and by society as a whole.

It's easy to lose focus when we witness this scenario in our life. As we fail to see the fruit of our labor, we will naturally wonder why we bother. It is in the moment that we must remember Solomon's final words about serving God. Our soul duty is to serve God, regardless of how we perceive our lives. At our lowest and highest points, the only thing that matters is our relationship with God. We have to remember that this life and these material things are only temporary, regardless of our relationship with God; but if we surrender to Him, our true future awaits us in His kingdom.

Planning for Death

Solomon talks about death a lot. It's a topic many people stray away from, but it's the one thing we can all agree is inevitable. Yet, it's also wildly unpredictable. Some people live to be well over 90, while others dies as infants or toddlers. I could live another 60 years, or I could die tomorrow. We can't control this aspect of our lives. This fact doesn't change based upon the amount of good I have done.

What we can control is whether we will have a second life (which won't end!). As such, we should strive to always be ready. By ready, I mean confident that if something were to happen in the next few seconds causing me die, I want to be all set to face judgment. This means constantly repenting of our sins, forgiving those around us, and making amends for the wrongs we've done. If death comes within the next moment, I want to be clean in God's eyesight and securely written in the Book of Life.

The Meaning of Life

People have been pondering the meaning of life for all time. Some people conclude it's about touching the lives of those around you; others conclude it's about the legacy you leave behind. In a way, both of these theories are encompassed in surrendering to God. If we are walking in our purpose and submitting to God, we will definitely touch the lives of those around us. We will exude compassion, love, joy, patience, etc., and these characteristics will guide our actions to positively impact the people around us. We may not have the most beautiful legacy on Earth after surrendering to God, but we will have a legacy in Heaven, which is much more important.

Conclusion

The brutal honesty of the book is quite refreshing. Despite the phrase "all is vanity" seeming to be the motto of the book, this book actually motivates me. It reminds me that the world's measure of success is false. I am reminded of how everything always points back to God, and I believe this is the key to living a Christ-centered life.

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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