Giving Meaning to Life
The broad question that the writer of Ecclesiastes seeks to answer is, “Is there any meaning to the time that I spend in this world?” We put on a man’s tombstone that he was born on a certain date and that he died on a certain date. Between these two poles of time we live our lives. The basic question is, “Does my life have meaning?”
A common refrain echoed in Ecclesiastes is that there is futility, vanity, and “nothing new under the sun.” If our lives begin under the sun as a cosmic accident, a result of random collisions and mutations of inert matter, and if our ultimate destiny is to return to the dust that bore us, there can be no purpose.
When we cease to look “under the sun” and seek our destiny “under heaven,” we find our purpose. Our origin was not in the primordial soup but in the very hands of God, who shaped us and breathed life into us. Our destiny is not to return to dust, but to give honor and praise to God forever. Under heaven we find purpose. If we have God as our origin and as our destiny, between those poles there is purpose and meaning.
The writer answers the question with a resounding “Yes!” There is a reason for our lives. There is a reason for our suffering and a reason for our pain. There is also a reason for our joy.
Coram Deo: Are you living your life “under the sun” or “under heaven?” Have you found true purpose and meaning to life?
Ecclesiastes 2:22: “For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun?”
2 Timothy 1:8–9: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord … who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”