The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! MEANINGLESS!” says the Teacher. “Utterly MEANINGLESS! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2; NIV)
What a way to start off one of the sixty-six books that comprise the Holy Bible. It is peculiar, indeed, to start off a book with that sort of phraseology, a book that seemingly has no part of the Holy Bible. In fact, one famous conservative Christian author was so brazen to put it in his book that covered Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. However, it is there.
For, it is useful at times, but the majority of its message is doom and gloom to the Christian who does not look for deeper meanings in God’s Word. One of the books you just skip over, or bringing it up at times of convenience like the often quoted, “A Time for Everything” found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Throughout the years, especially while I was growing up, this book (12 short chapters) never held much interest to me. However, that changed once I was introduced to this book:
In the introduction (page 1) Tommy Nelson says,
The Book of Ecclesiastes is amazing.
“Really?”I said in my mind. For I was truly perplexed.
It answers some of the most troubling questions we face as men and women.
- Where is God when bad things happen?
- How can I keep from being bitter toward God?
- How do I deal with the uncertainty of life?
- What do I do when I’m not sure of God’s will?
- When bad things happen, is it because I don’t have enough faith?
- Are Christians supposed to have fun?
If you’re like me, these questions make you lie awake at night. As a pastor, most of the heartfelt questions I get asked have to do with what is called the problem of evil… (Nelson, Tommy. “The Problem of Life with God.” 2002.)
Curious, I wanted to make sure my life after the accident (The Birth of True Life Christianity under MENU) was not a bad twist of fate.
See, I had just turned eighteen. Freshly graduated from high school, and the world ahead of me all for God. I was even enrolled in a Christian college. Yet, over-working myself (over 80 hours in a week to save for college and pay for used sports car), I personally decided that this was how I was going to spend my ’89 summer. Rather, I was too busy in what I thought was God’s will for my life (being a Youth Pastor) to give it a thought to how tired my body must have been. Therefore, I didn’t allow Him to show me that He might have had a different calling on my life until years after the car accident. So, you can see why this book heighten my curiosity.
On page 96, it says,
So how does God bring this change about? How does He create holiness, character, and joy in us? Through pain and suffering.
Confused at which way God wanted me to head in my life after the accident, I was still headed down the path of being a Youth Pastor because that is all I was prepared to do. If I was going into a different ministry, why hadn’t God prepared me? Was the car accident so necessary even if He was sending me into as different ministry? These were my thoughts for 10 years (even after it was clear that I did not have what it takes), as I did not want to let the youth leadership go.
I was still hoping for a miracle that I would be restored to my pre-accident body. Meanwhile, my church was believing in a miracle that I would return to my pre-accident body. My family, schoolmates, and friends were all believing it to. Yet, I waited and waited. The healing the way we expected it to happen, never came. Then, I stumbled upon this book that further explains what Ecclesiastes means.
This book helped me understand I needed to go to the source, the Book of Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon states the meaninglessness of human beings’ wisdom, of pleasure, of wisdom and folly, and of toil (1:12-2:26 NIV). Then, he writes what would be his most famous chapter among Christians, “A Time for Everything” (3, NIV).
In “A Time for Everything,” Solomon conveys that no matter how long it takes everything returns to dust. Meaningless! How MEANINGLESS! “This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes, NIV).
HOWEVER, King Solomon waits to the twelfth chapter to give us all hope for staying on this earth:
Remember your creator, … when people are afraid of heights and dangers in the streets … Remember Him-before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to the God who gave it. MEANINGLESS! MEANINGLESS! Everything is MEANINGLESS! says the Teacher. … Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every deed, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:1a, 5a b & d, 6a & b, 7, 8, 13, 14; NIV)
We have all got to be careful of that!
This music video goes along with what I am trying to say: