Ecclesiastes 1:14 - I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Ecclesiastes on the surface seems like a depressing book but it really isn't. It was written by wise Solomon who wrote the proverbs. Solomon asked that God give him wisdom over all else but God gave him all else as well!
Solomon pondered life and all that it has to offer. From birth to death, what was the one thing that would make a man great? Even wisdom was a burden because one would then realize that, like Job 1:21 says, ...Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
It's an age old question: What's the purpose of life? We are born, we live, we work, marry, suffer, rejoice, age and eventually die. Nothing lasts forever, except the things of God. He has created, He replenishes, He causes things to die and grow again. Just like nature He can do the same for mankind. Nature comes and goes according to set seasons; what dies returns as new. Man has the opportunity to do the same through Christ. And at the end of time those who become God's children will live forever with Him. Hallelujah.
What is our purpose then? To enjoy what we can while we can? I listened to an online sermon awhile ago. The bottom line: we are here to serve and glorify God, not selves. That's it. If we are not doing that our lives will be meaningless. If we realize we are working for Him then, like Solomon figured out for us, and what others in the Bible have said, none of what this life has to offer has any meaning, but what we do for Him is all that matters.
God didn't create us for nothing but He also didn't create us to do great things, although we can. He created us that we might know Him. And when we know Him we serve Him. He can use all people, great or small, rich or poor, who serve Him. We cause others to know Him, who then can serve Him. The end of it all? Life eternal with the Creator...if we seek Him.
What this world has to offer is nothing. What we achieve is nothing new under the sun. We can't take it with us. I have mentioned this many times because it is MY understanding of what is "important" to me...I have 39,000 photos on my phone's camera. I probably have more than that on our computer. Who's going to care when I die? It's what I do; it's a gift God has given me. I don't really use this gift to the full potential; I don't try to sell my photos. Occasionally I will print and frame one for decoration or a gift. But it's a vanity, a grasping for the wind! I doubt it's even something I do to glorify God other than to capture His creation.
Everything is a vanity, a grasping for the wind. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 1:2,12:8) All through Ecclesiastes Solomon is defining these vanities. He spoke truths. It's an interesting and not too lengthy book. Worth a read. But the bottom line as Solomon points out: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
At the top of every page in my Bible is a phrase to describe a main point on that page. Here are the ones from this particular Bible:
Wisdom excels folly
Everything has its time
A time for every purpose
*Two are better than one
Enjoy what God gives you
The value of wisdom
Wisdom strengthens the wise
Fear God and enjoy life
Time and chance happen to all
Wisdom brings success
Remember your Creator
Wise words are like goads
I like fear God and enjoy life. We can enjoy life if we are fearing God. Life isn't as wonderful without Him. There really is no meaning to life without Him. *Two are better than one! When we understand this, know Him, know our purpose in and through Him, we have it all! There is no hopelessness in Christ. We can accept death. We can know there's more beyond that time.
1Timothy 6:6-7 - Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.