One of my favourite books in the Bible is the book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. Although he was the richest and wisest man to have lived, he could see no meaning in his wealth or wisdom. He decided to try out different paths of life and find what was of real value and purpose.
Looking into wisdom and knowledge, he found that this only leads to more grief. Pleasure and happiness are good while they last but what value do they have in the long run? Success, money and power can be snatched away in a moment. We work hard to do good and to change things around us but what truly makes a difference? In the end we will all end up in the same way. What can we take with us when we die? What do we leave behind that has any value to those who remain?
His questions are almost depressing and so are many of his answers. Everything is completely meaningless he concludes. Nothing in this life is certain, nothing of this world will ever fulfill you, not a single person on this earth is always good.
Reading the newspaper on my commute home, it seems there are constantly disasters happening in every corner of the world. Somehow I have been spared from so much pain and injustice and it’s not because of anything I have done. Good things happen to bad people and bad things to good people. Some things we deserve and other things happen to us for no reason. It’s easy to feel strong when all is going well but reality is that life is fragile and can be snatched away without warning. After finding that every path leads to a dead end, Solomon turns his focus to God.
“Accept the way God does things for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.” Ecclesiastes 7:13-14.
Enjoy your life while you can he says, but remember where it came from. Fear God and honour him with your life because this is ultimately what matters. I love this book is because of its honesty and bluntness. It leaves you with more questions than before but challenges you to seek out the answers for yourself.
“If you find within yourself longings that nothing in this world can satisfy, it can only mean you were made for another world.” C. S. Lewis.