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The Meaning of Life

Published June 12, 2023

Sermon audio

Sermon Info:

Responsive Reading: Ecclesiastes 2:3-17
Key Verse: Ecclesiastes 2:11
Background Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12; Mark 8:34-38

Introduction

What is the meaning of life?  God, we should remember, created us in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26); He created us to be holy and righteous (Gen. 1:27); He created us to be fruitful and to multiply (Gen. 1:28).  In other words, the Lord desires for all of us to live a life of meaning and purpose.  So, today I ask you this:  Do you believe that you are or have lived a meaningful life?

The Life we Live

There have been many that have sought to find out what the meaning of life actually is only to never find the answer; they searched in the wrong places.  The answer to what the meaning of life is has actually not been hidden away from anybody.  

The meaning of life

Through scripture, the Lord tells us very plainly what the meaning of life actually is and how we go about living a fruitful life.  Through the prophet Micah, God tells us to do good; He said that He requires us to do justly (to be fair), to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him (Mic. 6:8).  

The meaning of life is to live to uplift; to help one another in finding contentment – peace, satisfaction, and joy – in life.  As I have said over the last four sermons, God planted us in the world to bear holy and righteous fruit.  If we do this, we would live a life of lifting each other up; this is a life lived out of love.

The problem that many of us have in fulfilling the meaning of life according to God is that many of us are not growing from the seed sown by Christ.  As we have seen, there are two types of seeds that have been sown in the world.  So, there’s two types of plants growing in the field (the world): one that is holy and righteous while the other is withered or is withering away according to the nature of the devil.

The tree that is growing as a righteous tree of God is a tree that is fruitful and bears holy and righteous fruit in the world.  As I stated last week, those of sincere faith live in total submission to the Lord and we live a fruitful life that helps to save the sick (poor) in spirit.  We, the sincere believers, live a life of purpose where we can help to lead those that are lost in sin to finding Christ (Jas. 5:15-16, 19-20).

However, there are many more that don’t live this life.  Sadly, so many fall into living in submission to the world as they choose to live in obedience to their lusts and passions for the riches of the world.  Those who live in this manner do so with a belief that by gaining the riches of the world, they will flourish and prosper – this is the meaning of life to them.

Now, some of those – a small minority – that live in submission to the world may actually be fortunate enough to gain some riches.  What about the rest?  Even more important, I feel I must ask, what can those riches do for your soul?  This is the same question that Jesus asked the people as well when He asked, “what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (Mark 8:36)?”  

Vanity of Vanities

Life is about more than the material gains!  What about your soul?  You must focus on your soul because that is what is most important.

Now, when Jesus asked that question, I want you to understand that He was talking to the subject about the meaning of life.  Jesus made this statement after speaking to the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees.  In other words, Jesus had been teaching about how defilement comes from within the heart (Mark 7:14-16); He was talking about the condition of one’s soul.

Again the meaning of life boils down to not simply finding happiness but finding contentment in the soul.  You see, there is a drastic difference between happiness and contentment.  Happiness that is of the world, as you have heard me say before, is temporary – it will fade away.  However, contentment is long lasting as the peace, satisfaction, and joy that follows will never go away.  

So, what are you doing to be content in your soul?  What are you doing to help others find contentment?  This is the meaning of life.  I say to you, you better not be searching for content through worldly gains because you will not find it.

Solomon, I feel, is the perfect person to use to answer this question.  The reason I say this is because Solomon was a man that had everything and because he had everything, he should have been satisfied (content) in his soul.  So, with that in mind, I feel I need to share Solomon’s story with you to show you what he learned in his search for the meaning of life.

Solomon’s fruitful walk with God

Solomon started out with God, from birth to even being promised by God to David to inherit his throne.  When David desired to build the temple, the Lord said to him that it would not be for him to do because he had shed much blood (2 Chr. 22:8).  However, a son was promised to be born of David who would be man of rest (peace) and would build a house for God’s name (2 Chr. 22:9-10).

After David’s death, there was internal conflict within his house over his throne.  After the internal conflict, Solomon became king at a very young age.  After he had become king, God came to Solomon and asked what He could give to him (1 Kgs. 3:5-14).

Scripture tells us that Solomon did not ask for long life, nor riches for himself, nor did he ask for the life of his enemies.  All that Solomon asked for was to have an understanding heart to discern between good and evil (1 Kgs. 3:9).  Because he had asked for that one thing and it would lead to bearing good fruit, the Lord gave to Solomon what he had asked for.

As he tells us in Ecclesiastes 2:3-10, Solomon’s reign started out great.  Solomon built and furnished the temple.  With Israel no longer being at war with the Philistines, they began to greatly prosper.  With Israel prospering, Solomon, as the king of Israel, prospered and gained great wealth.  

Solomon’s name had become so well known that other kings would visit and marvel at his wealth.  Solomon was visited by the Queen of Sheba who had heard about him and all he had done in the name of God (1 Kgs. 10:1).  The queen marveled and praised God for how blessed Solomon and the people of Israel were (1 Kgs. 10:8-9).

Scripture tells us that Solomon, yearly, had an incoming weight of gold measured at six hundred and sixty-six talents (worth over $1 billion today).  This number doesn’t even include Solomon’s housing and furnishing; it doesn’t include his stables of horses nor the cattle of his fields.  Solomon’s kingdom was so wealthy that we are told that silver was common in Jerusalem like stones (1 Kgs. 10:22)!

According to the doctrine of the world, Solomon was greatly “blessed”.  “All the earth” would come bearing gifts just to hear his wisdom because they wanted to prosper as well (1 Kgs. 10:24-25).  This is the kind of ‘blessing’ that many people desire and pray earnestly for today.  People truly believe that this blessing – the blessing of great wealth – is what will make them happy.  With that in mind, I feel we need to continue Solomon’s story which became tragic, spiritually speaking.

Solomon’s worldly living

With all of his great wealth, came a great fall for Solomon as he began to love the world and live for the world.  In Ecclesiastes 2:3, we are told that Solomon searched for how to gratify his flesh with wine while guiding his heart with wisdom for how to lay hold of folly (foolishness).  Solomon desired to see what was “good” under heaven; he was trying to find the meaning of life through worldly living.

Should I remind you of what Jesus said about trying to serve the Lord and serve mammon (the riches of the world) at the same time?  Jesus said that no one can serve two masters; for one will begin to hate one while loving and being loyal to the other (Matt. 6:24).  

In his dabbling in worldly living, Solomon continued to add to his wealth.  Solomon also married and married and married; he had over 700 wives and princesses, and over 300 concubines.  Solomon clung to all of his wives in love, stopped being loyal to God, and built shrines and images for his wives to burn incense and make sacrifices (1 Kgs. 11:1-8).  Solomon tells us that he added to his wisdom through knowledge and science as he excelled more than anybody that came before him (Eccl. 2:9).

Solomon did all of these things in order to see if happiness could be found through worldly living.  The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had been turned away from Him.  God promised to tear the kingdom away from his house after his days were over (1 Kgs. 11:12).  The rest of Solomon’s days, however, were filled with much adversity, and instead of long life (1 Kgs. 3:15), his days were shortened (1 Kgs. 11:41-42).

Fruitlessness of worldly living

In his later days, Solomon looked back on his worldly living and as we see in our key verse, Solomon said, “The labor in which I toiled … all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.

KEY VERSE – ECCLESIASTES 2:11 NKJV

I feel like so many people need to look at what Solomon has said here about worldly living and come to an understanding about this statement.  You see, this statement, along with how I was raised, has been one that has actually shaped my outlook on worldly living.  Why is that?

Well, Solomon concluded that his worldly living profited him nothing – it was of no value and meaningless.  Again, I want you to understand the man that said his worldly living was pointless.  Solomon had everything a man could dream of but said trying to find joy was like grasping for the wind; he came up empty in his search.

Solomon concluded that he hated life because the labor for happiness through worldly living was distressing and vanity (Eccl. 2:17).  Why did he say it was meaningless?  He found it to be vanity because the joy that he desired to attain could never be attained through worldly living.  As Solomon said in the opening chapter of Ecclesiastes, the eye is never satisfied with seeing (lusts are never quenched), as we will always crave more and more.

Solomon hated worldly living even more because his hard labor would not be completed and left to someone who might be wise but could also end up being a fool (Eccl. 2:18-19).  Ultimately, in the key verse, Solomon said that he looked at the labor in which he toiled through worldly living and found that there was no profit (no gain) though he had obtained many riches.

“Vanity of vanities,”   says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,” is how Solomon opened the book of Ecclesiastes.  If a man that had all the riches of the world said this, shouldn’t it make you wonder why so many are obsessed with the riches of the world?  Why are you obsessed with the riches of the world if you are?

Here is where I remind you that all the devil has to offer to anybody are the riches of the world.  Many live in submission to the devil’s doctrine of great gain.  Again, the sad part about all of this is that so many of us have been fooled to believe that your life is pointless if you haven’t obtained great wealth by a certain age.  Jesus taught that it is pointless to live in submission to the world because worldly riches can be stolen, destroyed, or will fade away (Matt. 6:19).

I consider the grind and hustle of so many that live for the riches of the world only to barely get any riches and become miserable.  Those that do gain some riches don’t ever stop hustling because they have to have more.  Many that have gained riches end up admitting to being miserable but can, at times, hide their misery.  In all of my living, I have found that wealth, and hustling and grinding for it, does nothing for my soul.

I think about how hard my dad labored in his life; from picking peaches to working several years in warehouses.  Once he was able to retire, he couldn’t enjoy the fruit of his labor in the world as he passed away. I say that not being sad because my dad had an even greater labor that he labored for the Lord.  

My dad passed away having lived a fruitful life as I remember the days of vacation bible school and all the many people he put on the path of the way, the truth, and the life.  With that in mind, I think of how many have labored in the world to fill their lust, greed, and covetousness to not gain.  Then, many of us look back on our life like Solomon, and we wonder, what was the point of all of it?

Living a Life of Meaning

God has not put us in the world to live a pointless and meaningless life; He put us here to live a life of meaning where we are fruitful and profit not just our soul but the souls of all of those around us.  How do we profit the souls of all of those around us?

Remember your Creator

Solomon called on us to remember our Creator in the days of our youth (Eccl. 12:1).  In doing this, Solomon advised us to learn to have no pleasure living in worldly living nor temporary happiness because one day God will judge us (Eccl. 12:5).  As I said earlier in this series, the harvest of God is drawing near and He will judge us by our fruits. Solomon also called on us to remember our Creator before the silver cord is loosed – before we get older – for the same reason (Eccl 12:6); the day of the Lord is at hand.

Because the day of the Lord draws closer and closer, Solomon said that we should fear the Lord and keep His commandments because He is going to bring every work into judgment (Eccl. 12:13-14).  As I have said, the harvest of God is drawing near and you better be getting yourself and your fruit ready for His harvest.  God, I want you to understand, does not want to harvest the riches of the world as they will do nothing for His kingdom.

To the rich young ruler, Jesus told him to sell all he had and give the profits to the poor and he would have treasure in heaven (Mark 10:21).  The meaning of life is uplifting all of those around you, not gathering riches.  In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that if one gains the riches of this world, they shouldn’t set their hopes on those riches but do good and be rich in good works by sharing (1 Tim. 6:17-18).

To live a fruitful life, let us remember to be fair, to be lenient, and compassionate.  Let us learn to live obediently to the Lord and His way.  When we do this, we will look back over our life with a smile and we will be made content in our soul as we will have lived a life full of meaning.



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