Read: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14
Consider: I would recommend taking the time to read the book of Ecclesiastes in its entirety. It describes one man’s search for meaning in life and draws attention to the meaningless of life without God. The writer seeks satisfaction and meaning in all the worldly pleasures and each time comes to the same conclusion: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 12:8).
Having tried worldly pleasures and found no satisfaction in them, the writer reflects on life and death in Ecclesiastes 11-12. I particularly like the imagery used to describe the ageing process (12:1-5), as well as the images used to speak of death (12:6-7).
In Ecclesiastes 11:8 we read: However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. Here we have a person who has tried everything and has come to the view that nothing in life or death provides any meaning. This reminds me of the views expressed by many atheists, who do not see any purpose and meaning in life.
If the writer had stopped writing Ecclesiastes 12 at verse 8 – ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’ we could righty leave this book feeling low and depressed. Thankfully the book does not end there!
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 (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Have you struggled to find meaning in life? Have you found only emptiness in worldly pleasures? Do you see ageing and death as something to be feared? If any of these are true of you, turn to God and seek true meaning in him. Finding out the purpose of life can only be achieved when we surrender to God and discover his purpose for our lives.
Pray: Father, we know that meaning and satisfaction cannot be found in worldly pleasures. May we surrender our lives to you and in Christ discover the real meaning and purpose of our lives. Amen