What if I told you that you should be enjoying life more than at least 4.8 billion people in the world? Where did I get that number from? Well, a quick Google search showed me that there are at least 4.8 billion non-Christians alive today. So, basically, I’m saying that you should be enjoying life more than 4.8 billion non-Christians around the globe… Now, you might be thinking that I need a reality check, I mean, what about Brad Pitt? He’s got it all, hasn’t he? Wouldn’t all of that fame and wealth bring him more enjoyment than an average Joe attending a local church? Well, if we didn’t have the Bible, we might think that it does. But in God’s mind, the enjoyment of life is not found in anything that can be found ‘under the sun’:
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
This phrase ‘under the sun’ is actually a key to help us understand the message of Ecclesiastes. It pops up again and again throughout the book; and the preacher uses this phrase to refer to everything in the earth without factoring in God’s presence. Basically, the preacher is trying to find out if he can discover meaning in life through the eyes of an atheist—through the eyes of someone where God is not a factor. And his conclusion?
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 12:8)
You see, Ecclesiastes teaches us that everything is meaningless for those who do not believe in the resurrection. Why? Because death swallows up everyone in the end (Eccl. 9:3). On the flip-side, Ecclesiastes teaches that believers can truly enjoy life because they can find their enjoyment in God. They find their enjoyment not in the fleeting things of the world, but in the one who never fails and never passes away. Our God promises us that despite some of the seemingly ‘meaningless’ things we see in the world, he is in control and there will be a day when we experience perfect life for all eternity!
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)
So go out and enjoy life! The hope of Christ empowers us to live life like to the full (John 10:10). We get the relief of being able to enjoy life because it is not ‘all up to us’ and because it cannot be thwarted by death.
God is good.