A whole new level of meaninglessness
Well, if we think we’ve encountered negativity so far in the Book of Ecclesiastes, trust me, we ain’t seen nothing yet! This chapter takes us to a whole new level of meaninglessness.
I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honour, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil. Ecclesiastes 6:1-2
So this is about dying and the fact that we have no idea when and where and that we can’t take anything with us. So what is the point of life at all? We may have it all, accumulate it all, and then die, never able to enjoy any of it. Leaving it all to strangers, who have not worked for it, to enjoy. Where’s the justice in that? Surely it would have been better never to have been born at all?
If you had a hundred children and lived many, many years – even 2,000 years – but never got to stop and enjoy what you had worked for, you’re in the same position as a baby who has just been born. You have gained nothing. Absolutely nothing!
Think about food. You work to provide food for your family, but that hunger is never satisfied. The family get hungry again and again and again and need providing for over and over again and that need to work is never completed.
Think about stuff. How we hanker after stuff. If we’re constantly striving for more, then we are never able to enjoy what is right in front of us. If we’re constantly yearning for more, we are never satisfied with the present. We live with a gnawing dissatisfaction that will not go away and we believe there is something out there – the next purchase, the next job, the next beauty treatment, the next challenge, the next night out – that will make that dissatisfaction disappear. We are always looking on to the next thing.
Think about advertising. How it constantly promises something new. But as the writer said earlier, there is nothing new under the sun.
Whatever exists has already been named,
and what humanity is has been known. Ecclesiastes 6:10
There is no new discovery out there waiting to be revealed that will bring us happiness. Everything is known. Human nature is known. Isn’t it astonishing how this book written over 2000 years ago can still speak into our world today? When it comes to human nature, nothing has really changed.
The more the words,
the less the meaning,
and how does that profit anyone?
For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone? Ecclesiastes 6:11-12
The more the words, the less the meaning.
The more I say, the less you understand.
The more I write, the more confused you become.
I’ll shut up.
What do I know really about how to live?
What can I tell you about what will happen after you die?
I know nothing (I warned you this would be bleak).
TO DO: Imagine yourself at the end of your life looking back on all you have lived and achieved. Write a list of the things that you feel will have given your life meaning. What things will have made your life worthwhile?