Tag Archives: enjoy life

The Search for the Meaning of Life

Here is the text of a message I gave today.  How many of you have heard of King Solomon of the Bible? Today I want to talk about Solomon’s search for the true meaning of life.

If you have your Bibles, turn with me to the book of Ecclesiastes. One of the three books in the Bible attributed to Solomon. We know from the book of Proverbs that Solomon was a very wise man with a wealth of practical knowledge. Ecclesiastes, however, shows us a different side of King Solomon. Solomon is said to have written Ecclesiastes as he neared the end of his days. If we had the time to explore the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes it would seem that Solomon spent his whole life searching for that great something that could give life lasting meaning. This aging king is getting restless.


Ecclesiastes 1:2 states, “Vanity, vanity all is vanity.” Has anyone here heard this expression before? Solomon’s words highlight the brevity of human life in the grand scheme of the universe. Life is but a breath, a vapor, or as one person put it, vanity is like a beautiful soap bubble that appears, floats momentarily and vanishes quickly.

Ecclesiastes 1:3, “What advantage does a man have in all his work which he does under the sun?” Solomon goes on to tell us in the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes how he spent his whole life gathering riches, believing that it would bring him lasting happiness and contentment. Instead, he found it wasn’t the answer. Then, he took his great wealth and poured it into massive building projects. He spent more of it on extravagant entertainment and objects of pleasure, yet, nothing he pursued gave him the lasting satisfaction or fulfillment he so desperately sought. He turned to knowledge and tried to reason his way out of the problem.

In Ecclesiastes 2:17 we read, “So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after the wind.” Do you find yourself at times hating life?

In my own life I worked for a company for more than 30 years. I believed if I could dedicate myself to my job that it would give me everything in life I needed. I was willing to donate my entire life to it. When the company began to fail and people were laid off, salaries were cut, and prospects for advancement evaporated, I found myself trapped. I suddenly found myself hating and suddenly started worrying about what I would do for a job when this one failed. My career felt futile and striving after the wind.

Solomon, one of the wisest men of his day could not figure out the true meaning of life. I should point out that we encounter the phrase “under the sun” many times in Ecclesiastes. From what I’ve studied it appears to mean anything we do in life as human beings apart from God.

Follow along as I read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

watches-1204696_960_720These verses offer a good cross-section of life. Life holds good times and bad times. We don’t whine or complain about the good times, but no one wants to find him or herself in a bad season of life. Every aspect of life occurs under the watchful eye of heaven.

Solomon believes the events in our lives are governed by a set time and perhaps more importantly, a purpose. He sees that there is something at work in the world and in his life over which he has no control over. Nothing happens around him by chance, or “just because. ” The writer of Ecclesiastes is saying that all of life, your life, my life, is part of a grand design and guided by divine providence. “To everything there is a time or a season under heaven.”

What season are you in in your life?  Whatever season you are in, good or bad, there are two things I want you to know:

First, you are not alone. If you know God, Romans 8:35-39 concludes that nothing in the universe can separate us from God’s love. If you don’t have a relationship with God, John 3:16 tells us just how much God loves every person. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not parish but have eternal life.” God sent Jesus Christ to make it possible for sinners to find God and have a relationship with him.  You are not alone.

The second thing you need to know is that whatever season you find yourself in God knows (and cares) about the things you are dealing with. Any trouble you may be experiencing, any doubts, fears, pain, or heartache did not just happen by chance. God has a plan and a purpose for every person. We may not like the season of life we are in but God is right there with you. In the words of Moses found in Deuteronomy 31:6, “God will not leave you or forsake you.” And “if God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31


Getting back to our text, Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything appropriate in its time, He also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from beginning to end.” Putting eternity in our hearts is God’s call for us to seek him out. He wants us to know that this flawed physical world in which we live is not his final solution. Solomon reminds us that all of life can’t be explained. There will be things that happen in this life that we won’t understand until we reach the eternal shores of heaven.

So what about Solomon’s search for the true meaning of life? Solomon is telling us in the book of Ecclesiastes, “Listen to me! I’ve tried everything!” Searching for happiness apart from God is pointless (vanity, vanity, all is vanity). Dr. David Jeremiah put it this way; you won’t find eternal satisfaction in temporary, worldly things.

Solomon is imploring us instead of searching for the meaning of life, to search out the One who gives life it’s meaning. Let me say that again, instead of wasting your life searching for the meaning of life, search out the One who gives life it’s meaning. Once we have found God who gives life meaning, we may not understand everything that is happening to us and around us but we know whatever it is God loves us and its for God’s greater good and His glory. In God we can find peace.

In Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 Solomon has this to say about life if we are aligned with the One who gives life it’s meaning.  “I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to do good so long as they live. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of God.” ASV

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:33, don’t worry about having enough stuff like food and clothes. Your heavenly father knows perfectly well that you need these things. God will give you these gifts if you give him first place in your life and live, as he wants you to live.

May God bless you and may you experience God’s peace in your life. He is the One who gives life it’s meaning.






God and Uncertainty

Solomon began Ecclesiastes declaring all is vanity under the sun. In chapter 11, we look “beyond his gloomy vistas to see God.” (McComiskey) In spite of life’s uncertainties and the certainty of death, we can enjoy life this side of eternity. Derrick Kidner offers a concise conclusion to the book, “Be bold! Be joyful! Be godly!”

person-864804_960_720The following are notes from William Barrick’s commentary of Ecclesiastes:

What a person doesn’t know (11:1-6)

V1       Cast – send, let loose

The numbers 7 or 8 are representative of an infinite number

This passage is similar in meaning to the parable of the talents (Matt 25)

The man who doesn’t invest is the one condemned in the parable

V2       This proverb suggests being charitable in either an agricultural or maritime pursuit. Investment, risk, and faith are involved – it is a call to act

clouds-806636_960_720        The future – is hidden, uncertain

V3       Man doesn’t know when rain comes or when a tree will fall, however, these are covered in God’s plan.

V4       If one waits for perfect conditions (to sow or to reap) they run the risk of crop loss or failure

V5       Man can’t see patterns of the wind or growth of bones in an unborn child but God controls both. He governs things that people are not in control of.

V6       Seems to convey the idea that man must work continuously (a full days work) in order to see the harvest. We must be busy (active, in motion) for God to steer us and bring success

Derek Tidball offers this takeaway

  • Don’t be paralyzed by inevitability
  • Don’t be paralyzed by speculation
  • Don’t be paralyzed by ignorance.

Galatians 6:9  “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Rejoice in the light (11:7,8)

V7       Rejoice – enjoy life don’t just endure it.

V8       Remember the dark times (they are many): suffering, old age, dying

Trials serve to make the joy we do encounter sweeter

Vanity – is defined as a breath, vapor

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made let us be glad and rejoice in it”


Again rejoice (11:9,10)

V9       Embrace youth while you are young, all too soon adulthood comes.

4 times previously in this chapter we are encouraged to be busy in the context of “we do not know.” In verse 9 we are told “yet know” God will judge us. Priority must be given to doing the will of God, not following our own desires (in other words, don’t make your desires a priority)

v10     Remove the pain, grief and anger from your heart, otherwise we will miss the pleasant things of life. Deal with issues of pain, grief and anger but don’t allow them to rule your life. Childhood and the prime of life is fleeting

Chapter 11 sets the stage for the closing section of Ecclesiastes, a theme of old age and end-of life experiences. Solomon transitions from “seeing the sun” (residing in God’s will) to a reminder that life “under the sun” eventually brings death.