- Ecclesiastes and the Meaning of Life
- Finding Meaning and Satisfaction in Christ
Ecclesiastes is a quest for purpose, meaning, and satisfaction—things we all seek in one way or another. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this quest.
The Wrong Way to Find Satisfaction
Most of Ecclesiastes is spent exposing the wrong way to search for purpose, meaning, and satisfaction. When we seek these things in possessions, pleasure, prestige, popularity, promotion, power, or performance, we will always be left dissatisfied. Everything “under the sun” is “vanity.”
The Right Way to Find Satisfaction
If everything under the sun is meaningless, then it stands to reason that we must look above the sun to find the answers. And that is exactly what the Preacher in Ecclesiastes concludes: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NASB).
The Preacher sought satisfaction through every means possible, relying on both empiricism (knowledge through experience) and rationalism (knowledge through reason). But empiricism and rationalism can only take us so far. We need a third way of knowing. And that third way is revelation.
Life “Under the Sun” vs. Life Under the Son
Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that, although there are many things we cannot understand, God has revealed everything we need to understand. Thus, God’s inspired Word (Scripture) points us to the incarnate Word (Jesus), who becomes the indwelling Word in all who believe in Him.
Ultimately, then, Ecclesiastes wants us to be so dissatisfied with life “under the sun” that we learn to cling to life under the Son. Consider the following contrasts between the two.
- Under the sun, all work we do is ultimately meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Under the Son, none of our work is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
- Under the sun, even fruitful work is only temporary (Ecclesiastes 2:18). Under the Son, every fruitful work in the Lord will endure (Colossians 1:10).
- Under the sun, our knowledge is severely limited (Ecclesiastes 8:17). Under the Son, we will know even as we are known by God (1 Corinthians 13:12).
- Under the sun, death always has the last word (Ecclesiastes 9:3). Under the Son, death is swallowed up by life (1 John 5:11).
Christ alone provides ultimate satisfaction, joy, and wisdom (John 10:9–10).
Want a copy of the slides Ken used in this video? They are available as part of Ken’s Talk Thru Ecclesiastes resource.
Watch more videos from Ken’s Monday night study here.