The Meaning of Life
I have been having one of those months, where life is a bit mundane. No holidays, no vacations, no traveling for my job, no public speaking opportunities – not even coffeeshop dates with girlfriends! Just lots of writing, editing, phone and zoom calls, and e-mails. This is probably why the Lord led me to read Ecclesiastes.
King Solomon was so rich and powerful that he could have anything he wanted. As he was young when he became king, he felt inadequate for the job. Thus, when God said, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5), he requested to have a discerning heart to govern God’s people. Think about this! He could have asked for all the wealth in the world. He could have asked to become the ruler of all kingdoms. Stop and ask yourself what would you ask for if God posed that question to you?
The Lord was so pleased with Solomon’s response that God answered his request and much more! He received wisdom, riches, and honor. There would be no equal among all the kings of earth, providing he continued to walk in the ways of the Lord. This passage makes me think about what I ask for when I pray. Are my prayers self-centered? Am I seeking to know God’s will and then praying according to His desires and plans?
As time went on, we see King Solomon become obsessed with the question, “What is the meaning of life?” He pursued one thing after another: wealth, women, and grand projects like building extraordinary gardens and houses. He studied the universe; and sought to grow in the knowledge of complex physical and sociological matters. He poured himself into experiencing the pleasures of wine, music, food, and purchasing extravagant treasures.
With each pursuit, his heart was empty, and he felt his life was meaningless. One thought deeply troubled Solomon’s spirit ─ no matter how people live, in the end, they die. King Solomon was despairing due to his uncertainty of what happens to people after they die (See Ecclesiastes 3:20-21). Though he hoped his spirit would live on and be in the presence of God, he did not have this assurance, thus at times feelings of hopelessness overwhelmed him. Take courage sisters and brothers, the Lord promises us eternal life through the sacrificial blood of Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
As I thought about Solomon’s despair over the deeper questions of life and death, I realized that I have freedom from this fear. In fact, Solomon’s conclusion to his quest is the very thing that motivates me and gives me purpose! Jesus enlightens us to see that our purpose and fulfillment are not found in earthly treasures, but in eternal gain.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
When I have days, or even weeks where my focus is to be on more menial tasks, I can rejoice when I know I am doing the things that God wants me to do. I give thanks and take joy because I knew my Lord is pleased with me.
I was thanking God as I read the words of Solomon that I have been born at this time in history. We have the revelation of Christ. We each have a copy of God’s Word in our own language in our homes! We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us giving us spiritual connection with God, understanding of His Word, and power to live a life pleasing to God.
Solomon has a sense of the significance of eternity. He says: “He has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). As Christ had not yet come, Solomon had a limited understanding of his eternal purpose on earth. However, he ends his dissertation of “the meaning of life” with these words:
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
This is great advice. We are eternal beings! God has placed us on this earth to grow in our relationship with Him, become more like Christ, worship and glorify Him, and make Him known to others. This is a time of preparation for the wonderful eternal life we will have in God’s presence. No matter how difficult, painful, or mundane our life may seem at times, it is not meaningless. When we live according to His will for the eternal purpose of glorifying God, all things have meaning!
By Sue Corl