Summary: Life is far from meaningless when one serves in accordance with the will God. All times both good and bad can be redeemed!
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Being but one mere speck of dust in this vast universe one cannot help but ask the question: how I live my life, does it really matter? After reading Scriptures that say that God “made us a little lower than the angels and crowned us with glory and honor” (Hebrews 2:7) and “gave His one and only Son” (John 3:16) to “die to sin once and for all” (Romans 6:10); one cannot help but conclude that we are valuable in God’s sight! But what does one do with Solomon’s statement that everything in life is meaningless (1:1)? Are not our life accomplishments temporary, here today and gone tomorrow? After all, who amongst us can add anything to or take away anything from the will of God our Father (Isaiah 14:27) who controls this universe (Colossians 1:17)? Does this mean that trying to determine the best way to live our lives is nothing more than a vain attempt to become significant? Should we just eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we are all going to die? In this sermon we are going to find out that what we do on this earth truly matters. Solomon concludes that life is not meaningless for those who serve God according to His will!
The Toils of Work
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
Life can seem like one endless day of work after another! We get up early in the morning, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, prepare our lunch, drive though rush hour traffic, work, drive home, feed ourselves and children, clean the house, wash the clothes and go to bed. That pretty much sums up our typical day. It is no wonder that Solomon calls work a burden laid upon humanity. God has certainly come good on His promise in Genesis 3:19 that we would work by the sweat of our brow until we return to the dust in which we came from! O to live in the garden of Eden! Work has not always been a burden. Adam was told to take care of a garden that had no sickness, pain, sorrow, death (Genesis 2:17) or violence (Genesis 1:29-30). Adam’s labour seems extremely easy in comparison to our - day in and day out grind! To have no need for shelter or clothes (albeit that might take a little time to get used too) and to have all the food one could eat at one’s fingertips, would that not be paradise? Because humanity did not want to submit to God’s authority but instead wanted control over our own destiny, the curse of hard work is rightly upon us!
Beauty in Time
11a He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Even with the sweat of their brow rolling down their faces, Solomon encouraged his readers to perceive everything as having beauty in its own time. The events that occur during the span of one’s life are not “random happenings determined by the roll of the celestial dice” but happen in accordance with the will of our Creator (Romans 8:28). For example, in verses 1-8 of this chapter Solomon outlined fourteen opposite activities to demonstrate that there is a proper time for all human activity.
Verse Couplet One Couplet Two
2 To be born – To die To Plant – To Uproot
3 To kill – To heal To Tear Down – To build up
4 To weep – To Laugh To Mourn – To Dance
5 To scatter stones – To gather To embrace – To refrain
6 To search – To give up To keep – To throw away
7 To tear – To mend To be silent – to speak
8 To love – To hate To war – To have peace
Human beings will spend their days living between the “poles of activity represented by these opposites.” Since humanity has no control over time, what makes these opposite activities beautiful is being able to discern the good works that God wants us to do during both the good and difficult times. While this might seem like an overwhelming task, do not forget that God created us in Christ Jesus for the express purpose of doing good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Weeping, scattering, searching, being torn down, uprooted, mourning and yes even death can be beautiful! While trials and tribulations are a heavy yoke for any human to bear, they are a source of great joy for it is through the testing of one’s faith and perseverance that one attains spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4). It is one thing to go through difficult times and feel joy but in the face of death where does one find beauty? Birth and death are two ends of the spectrum of life of which we have little control over either. While we participate in the process of conception and birth, it is ultimately God that knits us in our mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5). While our choices can shorten our lifespan, who can add a single hour to one’s life beyond what God has ordained (Matthew 6:27)? Not being able to control death however, does not mean that it can not be beautiful. When God chooses to take someone home to be with Him is that not beautiful, especially when that person has been suffering a long time? And is it not beautiful to see someone come to know Christ because they have seen a Christian take refuge (Psalms 46:1) in He who is the rock of their salvation (Psalms 18:2)? Yes, even in death there can be great beauty!