The Meaning Of It All?

Some days just seem mundane, and other days just seem very, very hard.

On the mundane days, tasks and lists need to be completed, and it’s usually those things we’ve done more times than we care to count.

And then there are days that are just hard. Discouragement, discontentment and doubt set in, and I just try to hang as best as I can.

Ecclesiastes is a book that talks a lot about life not being all that and describes life as being futile. So the author kind of throws his hands up and has the attitude of “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

I just finished reading  Breaking the Idols of Your Heart which talks about how all of us try so hard to find things that give us life, and we make idols out of them.  We try to suck the life out of relationships, or we try to hold onto control by being powerful. We might try to find life in work or pleasure or knowledge. Some people try to become more religious, which leads to self-righteousness and pride. And then sooner or later, we die.

Pretty depressing stuff.

“An under-the-sun perspective fueled the Teacher’s resignation to a life of meaningless in which

  • control will always slip out of our grasp.
  • relationships will always disappoint.
  • work will leave us frustrated.
  • pleasure is always fleeting.
  • wisdom is never an adequate guide.
  • spirituality usually gives in to legalism.
  • life ends in decay and death.”

After reading this, I just wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head for the next ten years or so. But Ecclesiastes doesn’t end there.  We don’t have to have this view of life because of Jesus.

“…the above-the-sun perspective charges all aspects of our earthly life with new and everlasting significance, so that

  • control leads to surrender to God’s will.
  • relationships lead to trust in God’s love.
  • work leads to laboring for God’s kingdom.
  • pleasure leads to a hunger for God’s coming.
  •  wisdom leads to a humble curiosity to know God.
  • spirituality leads to embracing God’s wild heart.
  • life leads to a joyous celebration of death and resurrection.” (181)

The writer of Ecclesiastes had experienced everything there was to experience, and it all came up lacking. So his solution to life’s futility and meaninglessness? First of all, he said, “Fear God.” And by fear God, I don’t think He’s talking about a “quaking in my boots” kind of fear. In the book Breaking the Idols, the authors talk about fear this way, “…fear is both a hunger for a glimpse of mystery and a terror of what comes.” (188)

Secondly, the writer said, “Do what He tells you to do.” We get confused about who we’re supposed to be listening to. Sometimes we’d rather listen to other people tell us what they think we’re supposed to do rather than listen to the Holy Spirit moment by moment. 

Yes, there’s still the day to day stuff of life, and I don’t always do that so well. There are still days that I doubt and get discouraged, and discontentment sets in, but listening to Him and actually doing what He’s telling me to do has definitely made me love and trust Him more..

The book of I John is all about loving God by listening to Him, by keeping His commands, and he goes on to state that God’s commands are not burdensome. His commands are not made up of the types of lists we often construct for ourselves and others. His commands: Love God; love others, and the amazing thing is that He does these things through us.  

But I found it interesting that John ended the book by saying, “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” He knew our hearts. He knew that our focus is limited and that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to hang on to idols while loving God and others at the same time. And he was right. Christ has to be our All in All. And the crazy ironic thing is that we don’t find Him in our own strength. He does it all…finds us, loves us, lives through us. And our part? surrendering, embracing, receiving.

“The lesson of Ecclesiastes is that Christ makes the difference. Our lives are far from meaningless, because he infuses our lives with meaning.”  (181)


1 Response to “The Meaning Of It All?”

  1. November 13, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Hey Kim – I’m so glad you’re writing again.
    Thank you.

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