Under the Sun?

"Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" says the writer of Ecclesiastes, a biblical book with some not-so-encouraging conclusions about human life. The author contends that nothing "under the sun" has lasting meaning, and that to find our purpose, we must look beyond this world.

The story begins with a king who has everything a person could desire: power, pleasure, a powerful army, prestige, and plenty of financial security. In other words, he started out with what most of us spend a lifetime accumulating. His conclusion: "Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content."

The Bible devotes 12 chapters to this man's "experiments" with purpose; his attempts at satisfaction through hard work, education, pleasures, buildings, power, even religion, and how each experiment left him empty and depressed. He even came to the place where he said, "I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere, so I hated life."

Deep inside my heart I find agreement with the writer, looking at the passing pleasures and promises of the world. "If this world is all there is, why should I bother?" All we have will one day be taken from us by death, and all we've worked for or enjoyed will be absorbed into the next generation, who themselves will try and "have it all" as well.

It's easier not to think about this sort of thing ­ just go on with my life and ignore that nagging emptiness I feel. But I can't do that. If there is a purpose to find, I want it. If there is a way to break the endless cycle of chasing the wind, I want to know how.

Every day we see the sun shining above us, and every day the majority of our time is spent dealing with earth-bound issues. It would be easy to get so caught up in "under the sun" activity that we forget to pursue lasting purpose.

The author's conclusion is found in 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes, where he urges us to "... remember your creator now ... before the silver cord of life snaps."

Life under the sun only has meaning when God is the focus. He created us with a purpose, and fulfilling His goals is primary reason for our existence. If we live for other things ­ wonderful as they may be ­ they will never satisfy the cry of our hearts, and they won't last beyond this life.

Jesus asks: "How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?" (Mark 8:36, all references NLT).

Make your time under the sun meaningful this week, by remembering your Creator. What does He want you to pursue? What did He create you for? How could you get to know Him better?

I originally wrote this article for the Marco Island Sun Times.


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