“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) This is what Solomon, who is said to have written Ecclesiastes, chooses to write about at length. Solomon was the wisest, richest and among the most popular kings in history, and yet he reached the conclusion that ultimately, everything is meaningless. Now, I know I have been disappointed in my life, many times in fact, and I am sure you have too. I have often wanted to give it all up saying “what’s it all for – what’s the point?” but I had put my disappointments down to the fact that I am just an ordinary guy and there is always someone better than me, more deserving than me, richer, wiser, older, younger etc… Whatever the disappointment, there is always an excuse, or a reason. But even Solomon, who was the greatest in so many ways, found himself wondering what the point of it all was.
Ecclesiastes 2:18-26 NLT
I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world. Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy. So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless. So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realised that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
The point here seems to be that everything is meaningless when you forget that it is all from God. If you think your success and your wealth and even your sense of general well being has been achieved by your own strength and then you die — well that really would be depressing! What does anything really matter if it’s just down us? But when you acknowledge that nothing is possible without God and everything comes from and belongs to God, then, in his service, life begins to take on meaning. When you give your whole life to the Lord and then begin to feel his gracious and wonderful response, then a life spent doing anything other than serving God as completely as you can, might as well be spent chasing the wind.
Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Psalms 46:1-11, Proverbs 22:15