“Meaningless! Meaningless!” Says The Teacher. “Utterly Meaningless! Everything Is Meaningless.”
There was a popular bumper sticker a while back that said, “excrement happens.” Of course, it used a more colorful word than excrement, but I hope you get the drift. It conveyed the notion that life comes at us by random chance, and that some of that random chance is not so good; it just “happens” without any reason or purpose. That sticker reveals a worldview that is inconsistent with the view that I hope you adopt in your short lives.
We know that things do happen to everyone in life, so when they happen to you, your response will be what matters? And how you respond will depend on your basic philosophy of life which will revolve around a sense of purpose. The temporariness and apparent randomness of our lives will threaten our sense of purpose. But keep in mind that the life you are living right now is eternal and the realization of that should change everything. If we are not eternal beings, then the bumper sticker hits the nail on the head. “Excrement happens,” and that’s all you’ve got; your body lives for a while, and then it dies, and that’s all there is to it.
Some will spend all of their time in the futility of simply reacting to circumstances. Every decision they make in life will be in reaction to the external forces that so-happen to come their way. For others, their purpose will be to experience thrills, sex, and adventures. And still, for others, their lives will be spent to start and sustain a career, get married, buy a house and raise a family. But in the end, all of these endeavors have one thing in common, they end in death. Meaningless, says the preacher, utterly meaningless.
But I pray that you will embrace the only purpose that makes sense of it all. I pray that purpose would undergird whatever kind of life you live. You must understand that the only way you can grasp this is to know that you are not merely flesh, but rather that you are flesh and spirit. While your bodies will be wasting away, you can know that inwardly you will be being renewed day by day in your spirit. Your eyes will not be fixed on what is seen but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Your purpose will not be to breathe air, occupy space and obey the whims of your flesh, but rather to do the work which God has prepared in advance for you to do. Your goal and purpose will not be to simply enjoy life but rather to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant” in the everlasting.
As I enter the autumn of my years I understand the words in the book of Ecclesiastes even more. Solomon laments that life is meaningless, a chasing after the wind, and no matter what path you choose, you can know that, as the end draws near, it will all be meaningless unless you have grabbed onto the eternal purpose that can only be found in Jesus the Christ.
I pray that at an early age you will commit to doing just that by grabbing onto Jesus with all of your might. I pray that you will be able to defend the few hours that you have been allotted against the attack of meaninglessness that comes in the form of promises by the flesh. I pray that, as your life comes to an end, you will be able to say, “I served my Lord,” as you ready yourself to meet him rather than, “I had a lot of ultimately meaningless fun.” May our Lord grant you the ability to serve him with steady devotion.
2 Corinthians 4