Summary: The let down of life will get to us sometime, somewhere.
Disappointed With Life
Note: This is a revision of my 2003 sermon on the same text. Quite a few secondary changes and refinements.
1. A 5-year-old boy who came to his mother & asked, "Where did I come from?" The mother took a deep breath because she had dreaded the moment when he would ask that question. But she was determined to answer it truthfully. So she started explaining in explicit detail the whole reproductive system, conception, birth, everything.
About 20 minutes later, her bored little boy interrupted & said, "But mommy, where did I come from? Jimmy said he came from New York."
2. Well, where did we come from? Where are we going? What’s it all about?
******** The Painting: 4 Stages of A Man’s Life (projected). Thomas Cole (1-4)
Note: You can find these four paintings online by doing an image search of The Four Stages of A Man’s Life by Thomas Cole.
3. For Millennia, Philosophers have long written about the meaning of life.
1. Some have concluded that life has no meaning; others tell us to pick any meaning we want and pretend it is so. If it works, don’t worry about whether it is true.
2. Most of us think about the deeper things of life here and there, in bits and pieces; if we think about life by setting aside massive periods of time, we would probably become severely depressed.
3. So some folks partially follow the advice of Solomon and try to enjoy life. For example, there is the true story of Lawn Chair Larry. Larry Walters, 1982, 45 weather balloons.
4. But there more meaning to life than merely finding ways to distract ourselves.
5. Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes near the end of his life, about 935BC. You almost have a dialogue between Solomon looking at life from a merely earthly perspective (under the sun) and then the Solomon who receives special revelation from God and tells us how to live in light of the reality.
6. Solomon addresses some of life’s biggest questions: How can we really matter? Where can we find true intimacy – or can we? What is a healthy balance in life? Why are we here? Can we understand why things happen the way they do? Does life have meaning? IT is THE book for those who want to think deeply about life.
7. Chuck Swindoll summarizes 3 lessons from Ecclesiastes:
(1) The sensual lure of something better tomorrow robs us of joys offered today.
(2) The personal temptation to escape is always stronger than the realization of its consequence.
(3) The final destination, if God is absent from the scene, will not satisfy.
8. We will come or have already come to the point in life where we realize that life is disappointing, that our dreams will not all come true, and that our impact on this world is marginal.
MAIN IDEA: The let down of life will get to us sometime, somewhere.
I. It Seems We Make No PERMANENT Impact on the World (1-11).
A. Life CONTINUES after our generation dies (1-10).
1. The cycles of nature stay the same (5-7)
2. People are typically unhappy (8)
3. History repeats itself over and over again (9)
4. We may have new technology, but human nature still leads to the same sorts of things over and over (10)
B. Our impact upon our descendants is LIMITED.
1. I come from a long line of tailors, but neither I nor my father were tailors.
2. I have a family picture, taken in the Slovak Republic, from about 1905.
3. I know my great-grandparents last names (Vasicek), but not their first.
4. After my funeral service, my family will be enjoying fried chicken w/out me.
5. Even if something big is named after us, we will likely be forgotten.
The let down of life will get to us sometime, somewhere.
II. When We Understand MORE, We Also Experience More EMOTIONAL Pain (12-18).
A. We look to many things to ENRICH our lives, but they cannot meet the need for meaning we need.
1. Some look to education
4. relationships (can work to a degree)
5. Most people live in a state of mild discontent…
B. Solomon tells us that the WISER and smarter we are, the more we may feel disappointed with life (18).
1. The saying “Ignorance is bliss” has some merit to it.
2. Choice between depth and the pain that sometimes goes with it or superficiality and the ignorant bliss that accompanies it.
C. We are disappointed: we have EXPECTATIONS that are not met, and we find ourselves UNABLE to satisfy our deepest longings.
D. The temptation is to cope with our disappointment in WRONG ways.