“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, NIV)
There are things that happen in life that put everything, all of life and our focuses in proper perspective. Things, where, up to that point have taken priority, been the focal point, are important and the reason we keep going and do what we do. Things that determine where our energy goes and shapes our days and all of life. But when that “event” occurs, or circumstances change, the things that once held meaning, no longer mean anything to us. Suddenly we are looking at life through a different lens.
For some it can be a family death, for others a crisis with health, for others based upon finances or employment, or changes with children. If they are of a great enough magnitude, they cause us to reassess life and rethink our position on many things.
As Ecclesiastes opens, King Solomon, David’s son, was viewing life through the lens of pragmatism and personal experience. His wealth and position had allowed him to experience and do anything and everything a person could want or desire. Over his time on the throne, he’d known women, wealth, and wisdom. He may have been in the company of other reputable and prominent people, and this became an after-dinner discussion, or perhaps he had given it some thought and all his journal notes on the matter had been bound together and shared, coming out like a sermon of sorts. Either way his findings and thoughts certainly got into the heads of others and made them think—as they do for us today—about life differently. Makes me think of the song “What’s it all about, Alfie?”
Even if the events that cause us to rethink life and reestablish priorities are not the most pleasant, they can still work for our good as they make us take a step back and filter what matters most. We don’t have to wait until we are older to do that but can use the changing seasons and events to reassess it all. My husband and I are getting older and certainly we have a list of things that are shaking out to be very important to us in these years, reshaping our core values for living and ministering to others.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!…Everything is utterly meaningless!” Doesn’t have to lead us to the macabre, where we are dwelling on the gruesome or thinking the worst about life and future, but simply that we are open and accepting to letting God shape our journey, reshape, and redefine us and our priorities.
Praying Ecclesiastes 1:2
Lord, life is full of changes and surprises. Like Solomon, we come to find that the things that seemed to matter most at one point don’t matter as much as we go along and that’s not all bad. Keep us focused, trusting, and steadfast in faith, always abounding in hope and open to new joys and new priorities and inspiration. Amen
How do you react to and process Solomon’s Meaningless! Meaningless…everything is utterly meaningless?