Have you ever pondered the age-old question, “What is the meaning of life?” I know I have, and I hope you have too! There are certainly times throughout our lives when we get interrupted from our routine by something unexpected. In times like this, we can feel like it’s caused us to lose our focus. But is that really such a bad thing? What if it enables us to refocus on the things that truly matter?
In the Old Testament, King Solomon seemed like he had everything going for him. You would think if anyone had it made in the shade and could kick back and relax in comfort, peace and security, it would have been him. He could tell you he had it all—wisdom, wealth, wine, wives, and every other worldly pleasure and possession that starts with a “w” (or any other letter for that matter!). While one might say he had arrived, he himself offered a different interpretation. His routine may not have been interrupted by a life-altering circumstance, but it was ultimately given pause by his own thoughts and logic.
Imagine if, at the pinnacle of his life, Solomon was asked to give a success speech. What would he say? Well, thanks to the book of Ecclesiastes, we know exactly what he would say: “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly Meaningless! Everything is meaningless…All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing” (Eccl. 1:2, 8). Say what?! You mean to tell me that after all you’ve accomplished, after all you’ve accumulated, after all your accolades, you’re saying that it was all in vain? Exactly. Fortunately, that’s not the end of the matter.
Solomon concludes his analysis of the human experience, whether young or old, strong or weak, rich or poor, uber-privileged or underprivileged, with a similar sentiment to those who penned the Westminster Shorter Catechism in 1647. They pondered life’s meaning when they asked, “What is the chief end of man?” Their answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
In our present time, let us go back to the profound yet basic foundational realities of our existence and purpose. Trusting in Jesus—on the basis of His life, death and resurrection—has enabled us to be brought near to God (1 Peter 3:18)—where we are kept safe and secure—and to obey His instruction (Romans 1:5; John 14:15; 1 John 5:3). As we experience the unexpected together, let’s refocus on our need to draw near through the Holy Spirit. Let’s rest in and enjoy the presence of Jesus, who brings everlasting peace to our souls and eternal glory to the Father.