I started reading the book of Ecclesiastes in my Bible reading plan today. It’s always one of those books that I kind of don’t know what to do with. Solomon has moments that depress me and make me feel like everything is meaningless and then their are hardcore nuggets of truth that I totally agree with and I’m engaged with the text. It’s an odd mixture to me. A book of extremes.
Today, I notice an interesting parallel between two passages. The first passage that jumped out to me was Ecclesiastes 1:8-9, “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” As dreary as a passage this is, I found that I could relate to it. It does seem that things grow wearisome. It seems that things will never be enough and nothing is truly new. Just doing the same things over and over again, it’s never enough and it grows wearisome. Happy thoughts, right? Well, at times I can feel that way about many things. It’s true that weary moments do settle into my soul and make me wonder is the point of it all. At this point in my Bible reading, I’m was feeling pretty down. Solomon was so not encouraging me and I was nodding my head in sad agreement.
The second passage that really jumped out to me was Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yetno one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Okay, same book of the Bible, but it seems like Solomon woke up on the right side of the bed when he penned these words. So much more inspiring than the words in chapter one. I love that this verse say God makes all things beautiful in His time! Not my time, but that is okay, because just as the verse says, only God has the whole picture and can see things from beginning to end. I may not see the beauty in all moments, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. I just don’t have the whole perspective.
I think a lot of the meaningless feelings Solomon wrestled with are based on the line that God has set eternity in the hearts of man. We know that we are not meant to be here on earth forever. Everything we do will seem meaningless and grow weary if this present life is all we are concerned with. The truth is that each day we have the opportunity to impact eternity and work for eternal rewards. I think about the relationships that I have with my students, with my friends, with my family. I know that they are not meaningless. I know that they have eternal implications and that I’m not living with just this lifetime in mind. It seems like the two passages balance each other out. Yes, things grow weary and nothing is new under the sun, however, when you realize that God makes all things beautiful in His time and He sees the whole picture, we can have confidence in building things of an eternal importance. Those things will not grow weary and will not be meaningless because they will last forever.