Meaningless! Meaningless! April 1, 2012Posted by #4 in Everything but the kitchen sink.
Tags: Ecclesiastes, fame, God, happiness, Homosexuality, King Solomon, politics, Solomon, United States, wealth
The words of the Teacher,son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
3 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Those words were penned by the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon. Why would he say them? He had everything; knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fame, wealth beyond imagination and peace in his kingdom for the entire span of his reign. Why would a man, who for all practical purposes had more money and influence than all of today’s combined billionaires, consider life to be meaningless? Later on in chapter 2 he says ” I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind…” . If you are not familiar with Solomon’s story, here is a hint: it does not end well.
The lesson from King Solomon and his enduring fame is that in the end he turned away from the one who gave him his wisdom, fame and wealth. He disobeyed a law set down in Deuteronomy by Moses concerning the kings of Israel – he gathered for himself riches and numerous wives. In the end, Solomon had over 700 wives and 300 concubines. These foreign wives were successful in turning Solomon away from the true God and he built altars and idols and worshiped the false gods of his wives. And it cost him. There is no record that Solomon made it to heaven. We do know from scripture that God severely punished idolatry and those who practiced it. What strikes me as significant above everything else regarding the life of King Solomon is that in spite of his wisdom he did evil; he sinned against the God who gave him everything. So wisdom obviously cannot save you nor guarantee your life will end well.
When I think of his words meaningless meaningless I cannot help but apply it to today. Our current world is obsessed with wealth and power and politics and fame. I don’t know about you but I am already sick of the political campaign and the Republican candidate has yet to be picked. Our economy is such an abysmal mess that the next 10 generations won’t recover from the debt. I have many friends who live in fear of losing their jobs and going through foreclosure; there is no more security for them. The American dream is slipping further and further out of reach for untold millions of people while others, a few, are capitalizing on the misfortune of others and getting wealthy. The divide has never been wider. Issues that used to unite this country are now divisive; lifestyles that twenty years ago were lived out in secrecy are now lived in the spotlight with an I-dare-you-to-criticize-attitude. And those willing to criticize are raked over the coals and forced to apologize.
Specifically the lifestyle of homosexuality is given front page status and accolades, in spite of its deadly and destructive consequences. It is now what gains people fame and fortune. I don’t know if you know anything about the homosexual lifestyle but I certainly wish that I did not – but today it cannot be escaped, it is everywhere. The people who applaud it publicly cannot possibly say that it is a worthwhile pursuit because by its very nature homosexuality wars against everything decent about the human body; it exploits every disgusting thing that should never be done if you want to avoid permanent physical damage and disease. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah happened for a reason.
So why do people pursue these things with a rabid determination? Recently the big news was the 640 million dollar Mega lottery and right before the winning numbers were announced there were news stories circulating about how winning millions was not necessarily a good thing and for many past winners it was a curse. So why wait in line for hours?
Why would anyone willingly run for the office of the President of the United States when it is the most thankless and stressful job ever created? Why do people willingly go on TV to fight and profane one another, allowing thousands and millions of people to watch and laugh at their stupidity? Why do some people kill because they are getting no respect?
The truth of the matter is that people are sinners. Sin is a willful disobedience towards God and His holiness. Sin is nothing else. Because we are sinners we literally screw everything up. It matters not what it is – if we get our hands on it or pursue it to make it ours, by default we have already made a mess of it. So therefore if we try to make it ours – whether it is fame and worship, wealth, power, possessions – it will harm us and cause us unhappiness because we were never designed to have it. We cannot handle it. Therefore our earthly pursuits are meaningless.
There has never been a king in existence who was able to rule the world and prolong their life. There has never been a celebrity who was able to have it all and live a joyful existence. In fact, the ones who spent ungodly amounts of money trying to prolong their lives have ended up being cut short. And most importantly, no one has ever figured out a way to take it with them. Someone else always gets our stuff, but they don’t get to keep it either.
But we still want it. We still want stuff. We still strive for fame and money; some people just disguise it by saying they just want to live comfortably and secure, but they still want things that they believe will make them happy and security is becoming a rare beast.
Solomon realized his life was meaningless because he didn’t pursue a relationship with God his creator.He allowed sin to creep into his life through all that he had. He pursued earthly happiness.
God has a remedy for this sickness we have. It is this..
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33)
God knows intimately that when we try to have our way and be in control it destroys us. We cannot do it and history has sadly born this truth out century after century.
God also provided a way for us to be truly happy and live forever. He has promised us eternal life; the very thing people have desired for ages but, to a person, went about it the wrong way. It’s found in what is arguably the most famous words ever written in the history of people.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Your career will not give you true happiness; your fame will not; your wealth will not; your government will not. In fact, what ever you set your sights on and decide you need – it will not bring you true happiness.
Living your life for the one who made you and died for you is the only way to make sure your life is not meaningless.