Summary: a look at Solomon’s answer to the meaning of life what it is, what it isn’t
Intro: they say the most asked question in life is what is the meaning of life? Solomon of all people being the wisest man in the world gave most of his life trying to find the answer to the question. His book, Ecclesiastes basically is his survey on the question, and his findings.
Today, taking Solomon’s findings, we find out what is the meaning of life.
I. Wisdom, Education, Learning, Being Brilliant, First in Your Class, Voted Most Likely To Succeed, is not the meaning of life. 1:13 In fact, Solomon who gave himself fully to seek out and search for wisdom, found that this pursuit was vexing. To know a lot didn’t fulfill a life. I have always thought winning on Jeopardy might be able to fulfill you in some way, but according to Solomon, no matter how brilliant you are, your brilliance will not give you the meaning of life. If you knew everything there is to know about everything, your knowledge still would not fulfill you. There would still be emptiness with your P.H. D. or your 180 I.Q.
II. Pleasure is not enough- 2:10--Solomon basically said, let’s party. I will get drunk, give myself to every kind of physical pleasure this world has to offer. I won’t keep myself from any pleasurable experience. But at the end of the road of pleasure the answer to the meaning of life was still missing. His assessment to all this pleasure was, it is meaningless, it is empty, it is vanity, it is like chasing the wind. At the end of the party, you may be full of pleasure, but the emptiness you feel is even greater than when the party started.
III. Silver and Gold-Riches, being loaded, being in the fortune 500, having the best of everything-2:8 I gathered also silver and gold. Solomon was loaded, he really was someone who had more money than he could spend. If he wanted anything, he paid cash. He had the midas touch, surely this would fulfill anyone. Most people believe just a little more money would make them happy. So if you had as much as Solomon, surely you would be giddy. But here is Solomon’s reply on riches--2:11--this too was a vexation to my spirit, it was of no profit. How can it be, this is the American dream, success, money, riches, hit the jackpot, win big. According to Solomon, the wisest man in the world, riches don’t make you happy. You won’t be fulfilled just because you have the best of everything. He even said, a rich old king and a dead dog weren’t any different at the cemetery. I guess that means you can’t take it with you. It really upset him that he would make all this money, and a foolish son could blow everything he made.
IV. Work Hard, Then You’ll Be Happy, Wrong--2:4-7
He said, the real meaning of life must be working hard, being successful, building things, great works, great houses. So he gave himself to hard work, and building, and at the end of it all--v.17-18 He came up with this statement: I hate all this work I have done, I hate all this labor, I am going to leave it all anyway. So Solomon says, building, hard work, being a great success doesn’t fill your life with joy. He even says, you are just as empty when you finish the product as when you started. You mean Donald Trump, Or Bill Gates or Ted Turner might not have found the meaning of life. Of course they haven’t, Solomon was more successful then all of them put together, didn’t make him happy or fulfilled.
I imagine someone might say, if I could be Tiger Woods, to be the best, to be at the top, surely I would find the meaning of life. Success, recognition, hard work, the answer is still no.
V. Power and Prestige--2:7--9 Now this should be the ticket. Power, Position, Prestige--this must be the meaning of life. According to Solomon, he said, I was great, powerful, increased more than anyone ever before (9) and still, there is an emptiness in power. Having servants, singers, people waiting on you all the time, being the boss, being the one with the microphone, being in the Penthouse suites, it still is: vanity, emptiness, a chasing after the wind.
VI. Fear God, Serve God, Love God, Do What God Says,
this is the meaning of life. Ecclesiastes 12:13--according to Solomon, after giving himself to every pursuit known to man, and still coming up empty, returning to the God of his childhood. Serving God, Loving God, was the true meaning of life.
Today, it is the same, if someone has everything this world has to offer, but they don’t have Jesus in their heart, they are empty.