“Is There Meaning?” part 2

Pastor David Moore

Old Testament readings: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 (NIV)  

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.  

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the  treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.  

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 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; nothing was gained under the sun.  

Theme: A continuation of the folly of man-made life. Solomon was offered by God anything he wanted: wealth, heath, wisdom, territory, and what Solomon wanted was wisdom, which God granted. We know Solomon is wise. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon is thinking out loud about the meaning of life, because he tried everything and found no meaning.  

Ecclesiastes 2:12-23 (NIV)  

Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done? I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.  

Then I thought in my heart, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?” I said in my heart, “This too is meaningless.” For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!  

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.  For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his day’s work is pain and  grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.  

Solomon has come to the conclusion that all die, even the rich – wealth is not everything. What one can never buy is the meaning of life. Whether life ends quickly or goes on for 90 years, it still ends in the grave. What is the point? ~D. Moore  

All the money you made will never buy back your soul. ~Bob Dylan

I think we get preoccupied with money, because it distracts us from the real purpose of life. It is a path away actually from the path we are supposed to be on toward God. I see in my mind’s eye a path that we are supposed to be on that takes us toward God. There are many obstacles, enticement, money that take us on a path away from God. ~D. Moore  

Money is the root of all evil. Yeah, money is the root. It’s not racism and “this-ism” and “that-ism”; it’s our thirst and hunger for money. And that’s where all the bodies are buried. ~Ice Cube  

People don’t leave Christianity to choose other gods or the devil. People leave to choose a different life and perhaps the most enticing lifestyle is one which costs lots of money. ~D. Moore  

Humanity has this hope that somehow, as a species, we will progress beyond our petty arguments and need for power, and we will all walk together and accomplish things. ~D. Moore  

Many scientists hope that we are heading for an idyllic future, because on some level, they believe science will explain everything and science will bring humanity to less selfishness, less jealousy and anger, and a better moral space. ~D. Moore  

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. ~Max Planck  

Another option to find meaning in life is work. ~D. Moore  

We are a nation of builders. Building is an effective distraction away from the meaning of life. ~D. Moore  

Mount Rushmore might last 10,000 years; nothing is permanent, so nothing that we can base our meaning of life on. The man-made life is transient, impermanent, and will pass away, or as Solomon says is changing the wind. ~D. Moore  

Only God makes a difference, only God breaking into human’s time can give our lives better meaning and permanence. ~D. Moore  

Humans were built by God to live forever. Somehow, we innately know this, and we desire to have a life beyond the grave. There is something in us that wants to live again, that desire that life does not just end. ~D. Moore  

Only Christ offers us eternal life, God wants us to live with Him, but because of our sin, it is not possible based on our own goodness. Only God, wanting us to live with Him, and God paying the sacrificial price in punishment and pain, taking our sin, and offering us back righteousness, enables us to live forever.  That means that life is not nothing; it is a prelude. This life is the opening line of a sonnet or the opening  chords of a symphony. CS Lewis says death means the dream is over and real life has begun. There is meaning and hope and we find it outside of ourselves, rather than inside. Solomon looked all sorts of places and found hope only in God. The same is true for us, all these centuries later. Hope in God, hope in Christ. It is the only real hope at all.

Is your hope with Christ? Have a good week.  

John 17:3: This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.