I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; (KJV)
There is no way man can ever find the right definition to life without consulting the author of life. Unfortunately many people are madly looking for meaning to life outside of the originator of life. From the above, we have the account of a man who made frantic efforts to find meaning and satisfaction in life. In an attempt to find fulfillment, King Solomon invested his entire life pursuing the very things which many people believe make life enjoyable. Solomon indeed had every good thing life could offer; according to him, there was nothing his eyes desired that he did not acquire, but something was clearly missing in his life, and this made him to voice out the incurable emptiness deep down within his soul.
Going by the standards by which majority measure success and achievements, no one could ever say that Solomon was not successful. In fact, his great possessions, business empire, wealth, fame, power, influence, qualifications, wisdom, glory, honour, political majesty, and many more, were such that nobody before or after him had ever attained in life! Notwithstanding, from Solomonís own words, as presented in the above passage, the picture one clearly sees is that of a miserable, empty and totally frustrated man who was full of sorrowful regrets rather than excitement or joy! With all the attempts he made to pursue fulfillment and meaning, Solomon at a critical point in his life came to the final conclusion that everything he ever possessed or achieved was vanity, and all put together was considered as less than vanity! The testimony of Solomon throws up very fundamental issue to which we must pay attention if our lives here on earth would not end in vanity. Itís surprising that those things, which in Solomonís conclusion are less than vanities, are the very things we are spending our entire lives pursuing today. Of course we will always find out that the conclusion cannot be different from that already made: all is vanity!
Nobody can find fulfillment or meaning to life except he or she understands lifeís major assignment. Many ventures such as educational pursuits, career, job, business, marriage, family, etc normally form part of our lifeís pursuits, but we must be careful not to lose focus of lifeís primary assignment so as not to miss the whole essence of living. In discovering lifeís major assignment, the best way to start is to find out what the Almighty God was looking for when He created man. According to Revelation 4:11, ĎThou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were createdí, the major reason man was created is God! Man was put here on earth not to pursue his own happiness but Godís pleasure. Manís major preoccupation therefore must be to seek to make God happy, for only in this he also will find true joy in life. Those who seek their own happiness in life usually die unhappy, the secret of lasting joy is living to make God happy; anyone who causes God sorrows by his or her sinful life can never know real joy in life no matter how much he or she struggles! At the early stage of Solomonís life, he actually had this understanding and pursued Godís happiness with zeal, but at some point, it appears he drifted to pursue vanities of life at the expense of his relationship with God. His insatiable quests for pleasures of life, pushed him overboard, his end was not that interesting.
Life can indeed be meaningful only if it prepares a man for eternity with God. God is eternal, His key interest for His children transcends this temporary life, and we must have this understanding as basis for all our pursuits. A major responsibility life places on us all is to prepare for eternity (life after death). Manís soul is eternal; death puts an end only to manís physical body and existence on earth but marks the beginning of his journey to endless eternity. While we live, our decisions, choices, actions and even inactions put together, are the very things that will determine where we will spend eternity. Itís true that we have many needs in life of which God is aware, but the greatest need of our souls is eternal life, nothing else is more important! Matthew 6:31-33 says ĎTherefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto youí. Those who are wise will never neglect the most pressing issue of eternity in pursuit of things which are but for a short while. It does not matter all that a man acquires or achieves in life, everything will amount to worthless rubbish if he dies without assurance of eternal life with God! Matthew 16:26 says ĎFor what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?í
It will be totally wrong for anyone to think that he or she can push God aside and still live a fulfilled and meaningful life, it is impossible! It was never the intention of God to create a universe in which He would not be relevant! This is the reason the Almighty God has put a deep hunger in manís soul which only Him can satisfy! It does not matter how much of wealth, women, affluence, position, power, properties, pleasures and comfort you amass to satisfy yourself, your soul will never find rest until you have placed God where He belongs Ė the very centre of your life! King Solomon realized this, probably at the time he was close to death, but good enough that at least he got the understanding before he passed on to the great beyond. From his parting words he says: ĎLet us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man' Ecclesiastes 12:13;
Your life actually begins to have meaning when you enter into relationship with Jesus Christ the Saviour of mankind. You can find meaning to life only when the author of life takes the centre stage of your life affairs and existence. Living for God every day, serving Jesus Christ in holiness and truth is lifeís major assignment!