Right now I am reading through Ecclesiastes, and it’s riveting! The author examines the utter futility and folly of living for oneself and hoarding riches. What’s the point in chasing after that which is but for a short time? Naked we came into the world and naked we will leave.
The key word in Ecclesiastes is vanity, which is defined as “the futile emptiness of trying to be happy apart from God.” The author looks at life “under the sun,” and from the human perspective declares it to be empty. Power, popularity, prestige, pleasure—nothing can fill the God-shaped void in human life except God himself, the author of all life!
A word of caution here: you absolutely must read this book in light of the future judgment and eternal life in Christ, and you should read it in one sitting. To read this short book in bits or apart from our assurance in Christ may leave you in despair, for it contains passages written solely from a human point of view, such as, “Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless” (3:19).
You need to keep reading to find out that once God enters a believer’s life, everything you do “under the sun” takes on meaning and purpose, from work, to relationships to play to worship. And when that happens, skepticism and despair melt away.
Listen to the author’s conclusion: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”