Summary: This sermon is a part of our discipleship series on building God's house within our lives. Today's sermon looks at building a purposeful, or a purpose-filled life.

Building God’s House

Building a Purposeful Life

Ecclesiastes 1

Audio File:!7EkigSYB!aWspSqZp4_v3_YMbyM2KAubdFMIpvSBkraSXxpa9Wtk

Over the years I have spoken a lot on this subject. I even have a chapter in my book, “From Here to There,” talking about it. And maybe that’s because there have been a few Bible verses about ‘purpose’ that I would like to describe my life, several of which were used to describe God’s relationship with King David. Like when God chose David to be King.

“He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” (Acts 13:22; cf. 1 Samuel 13:14 NKJV)

But there is another verse concerning the life of King David that I would be honored to have written as my epitaph once I pass from this world. It says,

“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died.” (Acts 13:16 NRS)

Both of these verses are what I would like people to remember me by. But the second verse is a definition of a great life lived for God.

For us then to live out this verse, it is important for us to understand what is God’s purpose for our lives? But also, what happens when we don’t understand God’s purpose, or what some have called, “The meaning of life?”

There is a book God has placed in the Bible for this very purpose, and that is to help explain what happens to a life that has lost its way, that has lost meaning and purpose. It is the book of Ecclesiastes. It was written by someone many consider the wisest man to have lived, Solomon. In the very first chapter he describes what happens when we don’t know God’s purpose and meaning of life.

Life Seems Meaningless

The King James Version reads, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” More literally the word, “vanity,” means, "useless" or "meaningless" in the Hebrew language.

“Meaningless! Meaningless! … Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 NIV)

What is being said is that if there is no purpose to life, then why live it? Why not just sleep in? If nothing really matters, why bother? Why make the effort? Life without meaning is useless if there is no purpose attached to it.

Life Seems Boring

Life without purpose makes it seem like all we’re doing is going around in circles, which is Solomon’s conclusion.

“The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5-7 NIV)

To prove the point that life without purpose is circular, that is, it keeps going around and around in circles, Solomon points to the rotation of the earth, the swirling nature of wind, and the cycle of evaporation. In other words, life without purpose is one boring endless cycle. Just about the time you put away the Christmas tree, you have to take it out and set it up again. Or it’s like running on a treadmill, we expend a lot of energy, but go absolutely nowhere.

Life Seems Unfulfilling

“The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new?” It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8b-10 NIV)

What’s being said is that no matter what we do, we’re never satisfied or content. We come late and leave early. This is magnified with how we watch TV. The average human will change the channel 325,000 times in their life. And so life without purpose is unfulfilling.

Life Seems Insignificant

“There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.” (Ecclesiastes 1:11 NIV)

What this is saying is that our 15 minutes of fame has been seriously downgraded. If you break a record today, someone is going to break it tomorrow, or the very next race. You might say that life without purpose is all about the surety of obscurity.

Life Seems Uncontrollable

“What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15 NKJV)

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