14 day plan

First Verses

Day 8 of 14

Ecclesiastes 1:1–3

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 3 What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?

Reflection

Do you occasionally (or often) wonder if life just doesn’t make sense? We invest our labours and our resources into the daily round of activities that occupy our hours, our days, our years, and then, whether expected or by surprise, it will all be over. For what?

The author of Ecclesiastes starts with the biggest question of all: the meaning of life. As Christians, we need not fear asking the hard questions. It is not faithless to wrestle with existential issues. In fact, for many people who are not Christians, Ecclesiastes can be a gateway book in its affirmation of the “angst” felt by people who think there is no ultimate purpose in the universe.

The Christian, however, goes further than just acknowledging that “yes, sometimes it seems meaningless and God seems silent.” The Christian affirms in faith that God is not silent; that God has spoken through the prophets, through the Bible, through the Son, through the Spirit, through the church. And so Ecclesiastes finishes reminding the reader that, despite the appearances at times of meaninglessness, there is a purpose to human existence. The duty of humanity is ultimately to “fear God and follow his commandments” (Eccl 12:13).

Prayer

Thank you Lord God that you have your purposes for humanity, for us, for me. Be with us in those times when we wonder or feel that everything is meaningless; assure us and remind us of the wonderful purposes you have for us. Fill us with awe and desire to serve you. Fill us with trust, knowing that only you fulfil our longings for meaning. And help us to care for those around us who struggle with the black dog of depression.