No Meaning Apart from God

No Meaning Apart from God

no purpose, no meaning apart from God
Is life worth living? Is there purpose for your life? The writer of Ecclesiastes seeks answers for these existential questions. And most of us ask them at some point in our lives. Why on earth are we here for?

What’s there to show for a lifetime of work,
      a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
   One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
      but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old planet earth.
   The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
      then does it again, and again—the same old round.
   The wind blows south, the wind blows north.
      Around and around and around it blows,
      blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind.
   All the rivers flow into the sea,
      but the sea never fills up.
   The rivers keep flowing to the same old place,
      and then start all over and do it again.
   Everything’s boring, utterly boring—
      no one can find any meaning in it.
   Boring to the eye,
      boring to the ear.
   What was will be again,
      what happened will happen again.
   There’s nothing new on this earth.
      Year after year it’s the same old thing.
(Ecclesiastes 1:3-9, MSG)

What’s the point in all this? We work hard and then we die. What’s the purpose of life? Different people draw different conclusions. We try to find meaning “under the sun”.

Some people try to find meaning through adventures. As long as they have adrenaline rushes they feel they are alive. Some people try to find meaning through amassing money and success. But all in vain.

Some people try to find meaning through sex or power. But all they find emptiness. Some people try to find meaning from entertainment with a “Life is short, let’s have fun”attitude. But anything taken out of its divine context is without meaning. Even such good things as love and knowledge. We are left empty, cold, and heartbroken.

We are not able to create meaning or purpose for our lives on our own. We can’t find meaning or purpose until we realize there really is not meaning apart from God. All the good things do come from above.

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. (James 1:16-17, MSG)

There are people who think that…
.. if they just could travel around the globe, they’d be happy.
.. if they just could have their own family, they’d be happy.
.. if they just could get a raise/find the right job, they’d be happy.

But happiness is a fleeting thing.

Because…
.. there is no happiness apart from God.
.. there is no meaning apart from God.
.. there is no purpose apart from God.

People want to deny this and they proclaim they are happy. But at the end of the day when they are all alone, they feel anyhow empty, tired, and wasted.

When I observed all that happens under the sun, I realized that everything is pointless, a chasing after wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:14, CEB, emphasis mine) or like the Amplified Bible puts it: I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity, a striving after the wind and a feeding on wind. 

Everything is pointless…apart from God.
All is vanity…apart from God.

The word translated “vanity” (hebel in Hebrew) is used more than 40 times in the Ecclesiastes. The word literally means bubble or vapor or illusion. It signifies emptiness. Life is indeed empty apart from God. Even if we for quite some time think we’ve got it, we eventually find that even this is vanity. We try different bubbles, we spend fortunes chasing the wind. And at the end, we realize all is vainglory.

Nothing but God satisfies.
Nothing but God gives purpose for life.
Nothing but God has meaning.

But that is good news. That is freeing. That is a blessing. That is grace. When we have been made right with God we have already arrived. When we are embraced by God we already have everything we ever need. When we are one with God, our lives are full of purpose and meaning.

The purpose of life is to find God.
The meaning of life is to live with God.
Forever and ever.

 

Gracious God,
Enable us to understand
…that apart from you
we are nothing,
…that apart from you,
all is vanity.
Embrace us with your grace!
We surrender our lives to you.
Do as you please.
Because…
…You are our life,
…You are our purpose,
…You are our meaning.
Be praised forever and ever!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How have you been chasing after meaning?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you celebrate life with God!

Image courtesy of Tom Lancaster. Linking up today with Thought-Provoking Thursdays and  Faith Filled Friday.

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