religion column

“Meaningless! Meaningless! ... Everything is meaningless,” said the wisest man ever. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon expressed this conviction around 35 times. “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Ecclesiastes, Solomon’s written sermon, analyzes life’s experiences with a theme that all of life is meaningless, hollow and fruitless if it isn’t rightly related to God. Solomon opined that life without God has no purpose or hope; man’s worth comes only from the Lord. People apart from God unsuccessfully search for fulfillment and enjoyment to calm their restlessness and compensate for their spiritual emptiness.

Solomon claimed to have followed all of his whimsical passions only to realize that it was like “chasing after the wind” (Chapter 2). He affirmed that without the Lord, nothing could satisfy man (2:25), for true satisfaction comes from knowing God’s purpose for our lives and living it. How interesting that this came from a powerful king who had great wealth, wisdom, respect and everything he could want on earth. Have you been searching for contentment and fulfillment apart from God?

Ecclesiastes’ somewhat cynical chapters contain gold nuggets of wisdom. One that captured my attention was, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (3:11). God has created in us a yearning for the kind of perfect world that existed before sin entered it. Injustice, wickedness and sickness affecting us increases this yearning and causes believers to look forward to their promised paradise after death.

Do you long for the new heaven and earth where there is no sin, Satan and suffering? If not, why not? Do you love the world too much to want to leave it? “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul expressed his desire to continue his fruitful labor, but also wanted to go to his eternal home (Philippians 1:21-24; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Do you consider heaven your home? A Christian’s awareness of living in this world, but not belonging to it, is certainly intensifying.

Current events are appalling; our nation and world evils are being exposed. America is now funding abortions worldwide. Many politicians are calling for the persecution of Christians by labeling them a hate group and trying to pass the “Equality Act” which is a misnomer. Being a Christian in the Middle East is dangerous and deadly. Christians are hunted and massacred in African countries, and they’re persecuted, tortured and left to starve and die in prisons in North Korea and China. Thank God those martyrs are happy in heaven (Ecclesiastes 4:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9).

Acknowledging the oppression and injustice in the world, Solomon and David asserted that God doesn’t ignore those wrongs, but will bring them to an end at His appointed time (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Psalm 37:13). Psalm 37 reveals God’s coming judgment and compares the eternal rewards of the righteous to the wicked’s permanent destruction. Therefore, we live with eternal values in view, believing that justice will eventually be given. The hope Christians have is not for this world, but for the one to come.

Accordingly, Solomon concluded that fearing and obeying the Lord is most important in life. That has purpose and gratification, which fills one’s subconscious void.

Secular appetites will never be satisfied with the world’s temporary pleasures and pursuits, because life without God is unfulfilling and meaningless.

In other words, life without God is just existing.

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Cindy Rooy is the author of the Bible study “Trusting God Through Troubles & Tears” and a contributing author in devotional books and magazines. To contact Cindy, email her at cr4Him@gmail.com.