Focal passages: Ecclesiastes 1:1-14
Have you ever measured your life’s value based on how you’re doing in work, school or sports? Have you ever thought that you only measured up to the number of friends you have, how much was in your retirement or even how many people came to know Jesus because you shared the gospel with them?
I have done all of the above, actually.
In high school I saw myself as a good student, a strong athlete, someone who had plenty of friends and got along easily with most people.
Two years into college the last of my identities fell apart. I barely squeaked by my science courses, hundreds of runners surpassed my skills and I was more homesick than I thought possible. I grasped at titles, approval and performance to fulfill me, but came short every time.
If I could no longer claim any of these things to give me value, where was my purpose? Where did I belong?
In Ecclesiastes 1:1-14, King Solomon wrestles with the same sense of meaninglessness. “What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever” (Ecclesiastes 1:7).
Generations of people have come and gone, working hard to pursue dreams or build personal kingdoms.
But what purpose do they have without Christ?
And how long will they stand alone?
Solomon also understood that, apart from Christ, nothing in this life can truly satisfy. “… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8).
All other wisdom, possessions, and works are burdensome, futile, and easily forgotten (Ecclesiastes 1:11-14).
There is a yearning in every person for purpose and belonging. What then does this mean about seeking “first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33)?
What does it mean to put Jesus first as Lord, knowing that only He can define and fulfill us?