In one way we’re alike.
We want our life to matter. And sometimes we wonder if it does, or ever will. You may go for weeks, months, or even years without giving it much thought. And then you run into an old high school or college friend whose lofty achievements make you wonder how he accomplished so much more than you in the same amount of time. You slap him on the back, but inside you’re not celebrating his success. You’re grieving the comparative smallness of your own . . . which only a few moments ago you viewed with pride.
If you’ve ever felt or thought that way, you’re not alone. Solomon pondered the meaning of life. He noted that all life “under the sun” is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2). Our accomplishments are sand castles on the beach. And the tide is rising. Eventually all a man or woman accomplishes will be forgotten, along with their name (Ecclesiastes 2).
Solomon pointed to the sun, it circles overhead today and makes the same journey tomorrow and every day after that. He concludes that what has been will always be. He observes rivers. Water follows an endless cycle from a river to the sea, from the sea to the sky, and from the sky back to the ground where it flows into a river. What’s been done will be done again (Ecclesiastes 1). Nothing has meaning.
Such truth can trigger despair. And then we realize, Solomon spoke of life “under the sun” – life without God. And his words make sense, don’t they? Just ask yourself, what have I done, of eternal value, without God?
The answer reveals two things. First, life without God, as Solomon said, ” is meaningless.” Second, the opposite is equally true. The presence of God adds meaning to who you are and all you do. Regardless, of the comparative “size” of your accomplishment, it’s God’s presence that infuses your life with meaning and eternal value (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).