“These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.
Everything Is Meaningless
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
The Teacher Speaks: The Futility of Wisdom
I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.
What is wrong cannot be
What is missing cannot be recovered.
I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.
The greater my wisdom,
the greater my grief.
To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.” (Ecclesiastes 1 NLT)
This world is full of ideas on what purpose we serve. We are often times pressured from birth to death to fulfill a certain role or purpose in society. These expectations may or may not help us discover our sense of self. Yet when we fail or succeed to meet the expectations of those around us and that of our own, we discover that we only feel the same way as King Solomon did. We think: “what’s the point?”
But I wonder, is there some blessing in allowing ourselves to acknowledge that sometimes we get lost?
Maybe it’s okay to be.
Our purpose isn’t found in the way people perceive us, or the standards we set up for ourselves. Having goals and hopes for the future is important, but there’s something even more important.
Through Micah, God teaches us: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV).
And 1 Corinthians 13 shows us the most excellent way; summed up in one word in how we should live our lives with a singular purpose: love.
Love is so difficult. It would be severely understating it when I say that we aren’t consistent in loving others and ourselves. How much more when it comes to loving our Lord?
But through Him, we receive grace. When we are lost to ourselves and the world, God pours more grace into us. And that is the grace of being lost. Not because of what we have done in the past or what potential we will fulfill in the future, but simply because of who He is (Romans 5).
There’s grace of being lost in God’s love. Once we allow ourselves to give up our identities to Him, we discover and become who we are meant to be.