Written By Ryan Walters
Let’s dissect chapter one of a book called Ecclesiastes, written by a guy named Solomon, & distinguished by its dialogue of meaninglessness.
Verse 2 kicks off with a punch- nailing the theme of this passage; it states, ‘everything is meaningless’.
What? Are we not made in God’s holy image? If God is love, how could the breath He placed in our lungs, in essence, be meaningless? Well, here’s what you need to acknowledge- It’s the power of the paradox. For example, ‘To gain life, we must lose it.’ That’s a familiar piece of scripture from Mark chapter 8. Solomon starts off with this ambiguous but profound phrase of ‘everything is meaningless’ and elaborates along the way.
Verse 3 says, ‘what do people get for all their hard work & toil under the sun?’
We exert ourselves to the point of exhaustion in our careers & for what? Just to be placed in the dirt someday and to decompose along with it? You’re telling me the sweat of my brow leads to the inevitable fact that death will someday consume me? Then what good is my work? Am I really just here to fulfill the American dream then say my peace? Solomon gets the wheels of our minds turning here. It begs the question, “is there something more?” A question every human being is well accustomed to. But if one credits their existence to a supernatural power, then all the sudden he or she has received a small slice of worth. A reason you were placed here.
Verse 7 continues with this, ‘all streams flow into the sea yet it’s never full’.
We strive for every dollar, relationship, or shiny piece of metal to every Ivy League school, promotion or lottery ticket. Yet we’re never fully content. Our souls always thirst for more no matter our possessions or size of our wallets. Our satisfaction will never be fulfilled when our attitude reads ‘gimmie, gimmie, gimmie’.
Robin Williams once said ‘what’s right is what’s left when you’ve done everything else wrong’.
If all you’ve ever sought is self-gratification & you’re yet to extinguish an uneasiness of not being well pleased, perhaps try looking at life through a different lens. Find the meaning of life by a different means and discover what it is to truly have meaning. Let’s go on to discern this.
In verse 9 Solomon writes, ‘what’s been done will be done again. Nothing is new under the sun’.
Why be a trend setter in the first place? You’re essentially just a wanna-be bootlegging a previous trade or way of fashion. You think hipsters came up with this stuff? They’re ancestors wore these funky shapes & eccentric designs long before we were born. There is ultimately no lasting value for being known as a pioneer. You’re only following the footsteps of another before you. However, there is meaning in representing one triune figure- someone who initiated a drastic movement. We’re getting to Him…..
Verse 11 states- ‘nobody remembers past generations.’
You could say scripture is dead wrong. We’re told to create & leave our legacies behind, right? We remember Martin Luther King & other greats. But it’s not that people simply loved Martin Luther as the person that he was; it’s so much more than that. They fell in love with the dream he had; what he represented. A legacy isn’t remembering a particular being; it’s following a revolutionized way of life.
Why do believers hold dear to the teachings of the apostles like the beloved Paul who sold his heart to He who supplied breath in his lungs? Because he and others like him left behind a legacy pointing people in the direction of something & someone greater than themselves. A radical lifestyle to follow He who came to existence among barn animals but lived on to conquer a grave. You can’t make this stuff up.
Finally, verse 18 reads, ‘he that increaseth in knowledge increaseth in grief’.
The power of the paradox from verse 2 continues. While acquiring meaning, you have this great epiphany; ‘meaning in life doesn’t come from me’. While discovering the truth & depth of your sin you see all the clearer your need for a Savior. While taking note of the evil of this world & the shortness of satan’s supervised reign of this temporary state of being we call ‘life on earth’, you come to the realization that meaning and true purpose isn’t defined by anything belonging on a temporary globe but by a hope in a supreme being who wears the title of Love.
Your meaning and worth is defined by someone who has prepared a place for you in eternity. Your meaning is forever cemented in a promise; a promise to have access to the One who though not created bears the name of Creator, by going first through His son whose name is Jesus Christ. He is the only legacy worth following; the only source of meaning.
Now are you ready for this? This is when it gets good.
The terms ‘vanity’ & ‘vexation of the spirit’ from the Old King James version are mentioned in the first few books of Ecclesiastes nine times. And as we’re aware, repetition throughout the Bible is well worth taking note of. The bottom line definition of vanity is pride while the definition for vexation is frustrated. The New International Version uses the phrase ‘chasing after the wind’ in replacing vanity and vexation. Safe to say, chasing the wind may be visualized with one word: pursuit. Lastly, the New King James Version’ interpretation is ‘grasping of the wind’. The noun grasping actually refers to understanding with difficulty. Let me boil this all down to a powerful combination of these different interpretations:
Frustrated In Their Pursuit,
Filled With Difficulty Understanding,
Of Meaning In Life.
I know people who know Jesus. I know people who don’t know Jesus. And I know a few in between. There are some people out there unfortunately misrepresenting Jesus, turning others off in the process from His life-changing lifestyle that brings meaning even to the hopeless. But with every fiber of my being I can tell you this: those who authentically know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and serve Him with surrendered hearts are the ones who have made the most meaningful impact on my life. They are faithful to God’s calling, living each day as walking Bibles & others take notice of an unexplainable joy and peace that radiates from their words, attitudes and actions. It is contagious.
Join the movement in discovering what Solomon was so eagerly trying to express in Ecclesiastes Chapter one: that Jesus is Worthy Of Pursuit
Ryan Walters. ’98.6 Too Cold’ Founder, Blogger
Follow me at @ryanjwalters on Twitter/Instagram For More!