I have to admit that I’ve never really read much of the book of Ecclesiastes, let alone study it as closely as we are about to over the course of the next few weeks. I’m not really sure why, other than it just has never been part of any Bible study that I’ve participated in up to this point, and I can’t recall any sermon series covering it either. But based on the opening chapter, I can say this book starts off unlike just about any other book in the Bible.
In a nutshell, what this chapter is telling us is that pretty much everything in this world that means anything to me (or you) isn’t worth the price of admission. All the worries that I had in the past week at my job. Meaningless. The worries this weekend about getting all of the outside stuff ready for winter. Meaningless. At the end of the day, the sun will set as always, and rise again the next day. The rivers will start at their sources and run to the sea, just to start all over again.
I like in verse 10 where it says “Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new?’ It was here already, long ago; it was before our time.” It brings to mind words I hear people say all the time about how out of control society is becoming, as if any of the “problems” of our world are new. Well, ok, maybe some of the issues that involve technology are new, but then again not really. Identity theft is seemingly on the rise, but is it really? Or is it just different? I mean, theft has been around since the beginning of time. Cyber-bullying or sex crimes involving technology? Maybe the means of carrying out such crimes is different, but these crimes have always existed. Nothing that is going on now is really actually new. It’s just more in our faces thanks to the 24-hour news cycle and social media. We can’t escape it anymore. And it’s those types of stories that make the news anyway. Who would tune into the news every night if all they covered were stories like “Man holds open the door for a disabled person”? Or woman praised for paying for the Starbucks order for the car behind her in the drive-thru.
Anyway, I digress. As I stated before, I haven’t read or studied this entire book before. But I get the sense that the main point of this book is to not focus on worldly things. Instead, focus on God and His purpose for us. Living life to the fullest doesn’t have to mean live fast, die young. Living life to the fullest can (and probably should) mean living a Christ-like life.
On a side note, I have some people in my life who could use some prayers. My Aunt Cheri was recently diagnosed with cancer. My best friend, also named Matt, recently had surgery to remove a tumor on one of his kidneys and ended up losing the whole kidney. Finally, a family friend recently passed away suddenly at the age of 46. So prayers for my Aunt Cheri, my friend Matt, and the family and friends of Steve Fleck.