At the beginning of this five-part blog series on Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26, I showed you Ed Ames’ song, “Who Will Answer?”, a song that is really asking, who brings meaning to life?
As we have seen all week long, while humanity tries to answer that question many way, it is only God who has the answer. And jumping to the New Testament, we see that Jesus is the answer. But how?
We find true meaning in life through the abundant life that Jesus came to bring. Jesus’ abundant life is a very different approach to life than what is often considered wise. Just open up the sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapters 5-7 and you’ll see pretty quickly what I mean.
“Love your enemies”??? In what world is that wise, Jesus? Your enemy can take you down! You shouldn’t love them, you should neutralize them!
Or take another famous saying of Jesus. “Do not store up treasure on earth, but store up treasure in heaven.” That doesn’t seem wise, either, Jesus.
Give generously and sacrificially of you time, talent and treasure? I often think of how much money I would have if I had never in my life given any to the Lord.
But that was Jesus for you. Upending the conventions of society, and he still sounds off his rocker today.
So back to the Teacher in Ecclesiastes 2:24-26. Notice how the teacher’s perspective is in line with the way of Jesus. Focus on a life of joyfully serving the Lord. That’s what brings meaning to life. Choose love. Love, as one poet says, is the only thing you can’t leave behind when you die. Choose to see God’s hand and goodness in things, even in the hard things of life.
Have you been stuck passionately pursuing someone or thing that has taken your eyes off Jesus? Think about Jesus with me for a moment. Can you say that you are passionate about him?
I was recently studying Jesus’ trial in chapter 15 of the Gospel of Mark. I found it fascinating to see the Jews so intensely passionate about killing Jesus. And yet he was God. How did they get it so wrong? They were blinded by the perception of God that they had created, so when God showed up right in front of them, he wasn’t in line with that perception, and they could not see him. Do we ever do that?
We do. Many ways. The different personalities here show us the ways that we can miss seeing that God is right here with us, whether that is the Philosopher, who can get caught up in always questioning. Or it might be the Student trying to just educate themselves about God and the world. Whether it is the Party Animal choosing to just have a great time and fully enjoy all of life. Or maybe it is the Addict, numbing ourselves to what is going on by different kinds of addictions. Maybe we are the Workaholic or maybe we are the Puritan just focusing on following all the rules. It might even be the Philanthropist!
Viewing and living life through these personalities can cause us to miss God. We can miss out connecting to the one living, good God who loves and adores us. He is the God who wants to connect with you and walk through the good and the bad with you. He is the God who is real, active and has desires to be known by you.
When we choose to know him, not just know about him, that is where we find abundant meaningful life. That is where it is at.
We all go through seasons, sometimes feeling more connected to God than other times. Which are these different “personality” themes do you lean towards? Maybe more than one. In what way can that personality instruct any changes that you might need to make to help you be able to connect more with God during this season? Talk about it with someone else. Develop an accountability relationship, cheering one another on to connect deeper with our God.
Let us see Jesus as the answer. A vibrant, passionate life of following Jesus is what will bring meaning to that seemingly bottomless pit of emptiness that we can feel in our lives. Pursue Jesus!