“Meaningless! Meaningless!” Says The Teacher. “Utterly Meaningless! Everything Is Meaningless.” +
There was a popular bumper sticker for a while that said, “excrement happens”. Of course, it used a much 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, and 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 things happen to you, the question you will need to ask is, how will I respond? And how you respond will depend on your basic philosophy of life. And this “philosophy” will revolve around a sense of purpose. The temporariness and apparent randomness of our lives will threaten our sense of purpose. If this life you are living right now is eternal, then that changes everything. If they are not eternal, then, “excrement happens” is all you’ve got. Your body will die. And the few hours, days and years you spent occupying it will have been payed out like so much money in your pocket; and then it will be gone.
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 external forces. For others, their purpose will be to experience thrills, sex, and adventures. And still, for others, it 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 and obey the whims of your flesh, but rather your purpose will be 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 more and 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, grabbing onto Jesus with all of your might. I pray that you will be able to defend the few hours that have been allotted you from the attack of meaninglessness that comes in the form of promises to 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, and not, “I had a lot of ultimately meaningless fun”. May our Lord grant you the ability to serve Him with steady devotion. Amen
2 Corinthians 4