That’s a big theme of Ecclesiastes, and to be perfectly honest, it kind of brought me down.
I mean I’ve spent the last several months talking myself away from the questions of my meaninglessness. So for Mr. Wise Man to come along and start pushing how useless it all is, well let’s just say it didn’t make me want to party all night.
I mean what’s the point, if it’s all meaningless.
Sure we could take the “We can’t stop” approach and do whatever we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want, but so what if in the end all we’ve got are headaches, heartaches, and our defiant wrinkled chins tilted smugly askew.
According to Mr. Solomon, no amount of money, partying or lasciviousness (look it up) will ever make a person feel meaningful, important, valued, or truly alive. I get that part. I’m not judging here, but it doesn’t surprise me that alcohol, drugs, random sex, and the basic desire to “run things and don’t let things run we” doesn’t ever land a person in a better place. But the fact that nothing seems to cheer the old guy up is kind of a downer.
One friend of mine reminded me that Solomon is just pointing out that this world holds no meaning without Jesus.
Although I agree with the preeminence of Jesus in the realm of life meaning something, I’m not so sure that’s where Solomon was going.
Here’s my theory:
Solomon was supposedly the wisest man ever to have lived (the debate about him being wise and marrying OVER 700 TIMES will have to wait til another day). And I can’t help but think that if I were super wise, I’d probably expect to understand death and what comes next and how this life feeds into eternity. But Solomon didn’t ever get his noodle around all of that. He understood life and living and right and wrong, but God’s mighty plans, he never got. There was no fountain of youth for him to discover or epiphany for him to explain. There was just his life to live. That was all he got. And he wasted it. In the end, he compromised himself with other gods and found out that his kingdom would be torn in two. He missed it.
May I propose that we not miss it.
There is a purpose that we are here.
There is a reason that this is the age in which we live.
There is a plan that involves a hope and a future.
We have within us the ability to fully live life, to completely love others, and to introduce the world to hope.
We can’t stop.
We can’t stop and mindlessly doing what we want.
We can’t stop to party and pretend like there’s no tomorrow. No, that time is not today.
Now is the time to live our lives with purpose.
“The night is nearly over. The day is almost here, so put aside the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light.”
Solomon ended the book of Ecclesiastes with a plea for the people to obey God’s commands and follow God all their days (and nights). After he had done it all, Solomon came back to God. The last words of the wisest man were a plea to guide the people back to God.
That, to me, seems very meaningful.
May we never stop loving people with our lives and trying to live like Jesus did.