The Book of Ecclesiastes is the most depressing book in the Bible.
Well, it’s almost depressing. If a depressed, suicidal person picked up the Bible for comfort and read this book—but stopped short of the last two verses—he would likely choose to suck on his car’s exhaust pipe.
Solomon, touted as the wisest man who ever lived, wrote that he tried to find meaning in life, but everything he tried came up short. He kept repeating the phrase, “Meaningless!”
- Education and wisdom? Meaningless.
- Hard work? Meaningless.
- Wealth? Meaningless.
- The party life. Meaningless.
There are days I can pick up that vibe.
- Those days when what I’m tackling feels like an exercise in futility.
- I work hard to fix up something in the house, knowing that in a year or two it will need repair again.
- I exercise to stay healthy, but I’m still going to age and die.
But the last two verses of Ecclesiastes bring it all together.
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecc. 12:13-14).
For all his wisdom, there were some aspects of life Solomon couldn’t fully understand. But he ended his book on a note of trust and confidence. If I can put it in my own words, I’d say: “So much of life seems meaningless, but not from God’s perspective. I’m going to trust Him, follow Him wholeheartedly, and let Him work all things out in His time.”
Solomon said in another place:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecc. 3:11).
We know, deep down, this life ain’t all there is. We just can’t fathom or understand how this life fits into God’s big picture.
This idea makes me fall into God’s arms in trust. What may feel meaningless is not meaningless. I will not know on this side of heaven what eternal impact my work and conversations had on people. I may not know to what degree my “mundane” life is making a difference for the kingdom of God, but I can trust Him. “He makes everything beautiful in His time.”
In His timing, Jesus makes my life far from meaningless.
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On a very personal note, let me say, Lynn, you have made a large impact on my life. I am grateful I was a mom and sponsor of youth trips and fellowships that you led. I thank God for your testimony.
Thank you, Ellen. That means a lot.
Lynn, It was a privilege to meet you this past Sunday. I do enjoy your articles relating to The Bible Studies for Life lessons.. This article wrapping up lesson 6 in Finding Meaning is most useful. Thank you for your insight and sharing it with Sunday School teachers. I have shared with my class many of your thoughts.
The honor was mine. Thank you, Shirley, for your kind words.
Thank you for your blogs. I read every week and it always enhances the lesson. I often share with the ladies class that I teach. I have taught Bible Studies for Life for 13 years to an adult ladies class. I have to admit, I’m starting to have deja vu. Are the lessons recycling??
Thank’s and God bless you and your team for all you do to bring God glory!!!
No recycling, Diane. Bible Studies for Life has not been in Ecclesiastes for years (with the exception of Summer 2017 when we studied one passage in Eccl. 11). There is a common theme in the book, though, that this six-week study kept circling back to: whether it’s entertainment, wealth, wisdom, and so forth. life is meaningless if it is not grounded in God.
If you’re referring to this blog, I commend you for being an astute reader. This is a “repurposed” post from three years ago.