NOTHING MATTERS MUCH
Lord, teach me the meaning of life.
Read ECCLESIASTES 1:1–11
Everything Is Meaningless
1 The words of the Teacher,[a] 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.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.
a Ecclesiastes 1:1 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 2 and 12
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Who or what has brought you the deepest and most long-lasting satisfaction in life? Why?
In whatever we do, most of us usually ask, “What’s the point?” and “Where’s the profit?” We yearn for meaning, and we strive for gain of some kind. The Teacher, observing the brevity of human life and the repetitive cycles in nature (4–7), concludes that life lacks both purpose (2) and profit (3). His poetic but pessimistic reflections evoke a profound sense of weariness, discontent and a bit of futility.
The Teacher laments that all we gain is not enough (8b), not new enough (9) or doesn’t last long enough (11)! Our senses are fed and fed, but never filled. It is only as we grasp the extent of this bad news that we become properly poised to receive the good news: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which by divine design cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ” (Blaise Pascal, 1623–1662).
Pessimism doesn’t enjoy the last word. The last Word is Jesus, in whom we have this promise: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). The senses have been fed; one day, they will be filled.
Are you seeking purpose or profit in something, someone or some experience apart from your relationship with Jesus?
Lord, we understand that life’s boredom and repetition cannot be remedied apart from a relationship with You. You alone fill us.
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