The name “Ecclesiastes” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Qoheleth,” meaning “one who assembles.” Isn’t that what we all do in life? We assemble. We assemble our collection of toys as we grow up. We assemble our collection of friends and acquaintances. We assemble skills in order to do something, be it good or bad skills. We assemble our “toys” after we are grown up. We assemble our families, and later in life we hope to assemble some well-deserved relaxation and fun in retirement. But is that all there is to life? What is, after all, the real meaning of life?
An often used phrase in Ecclesiastes is “nothing makes sense”; have you echoed this phrase in your own life? How sad would it be to come to the end of your life and be thinking nothing has made sense…is this all there is? Did my life account for anything? Did I make a difference? Was there a reason I was born? Did anybody notice me while I walked this planet? What is next, if anything, after my death?
Written over 2,500 years ago, Ecclesiastes is as modern today as ever. Who hasn’t said the following or something like it, at one time or another in their own lives?
“I have seen everything during this senseless life of mine. I have seen good citizens die for doing the right thing, and I have seen criminals live to a ripe old age.” (Ecc. 7:15 CEV)
In 1983, Harold S. Kushner published his bestseller book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Avon. Later, in 1997, Melvin Tinker followed with his book, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? by Christian Focus. Obviously, this has been a question for all time.
I don’t know why it is such a mystery to most; it should come as no surprise. We live in a fallen world where evil reigns until Christ comes again. We learn very clearly in Matthew 7:25 that the winds of destruction and the flood waters come against all people, the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Our promise from God is only that we Christians will be able to withstand these destructive forces, not that we will escape such calamity in our earthly lives. Many a new Christian mistakenly thinks that once they accept Christ as their LORD and Savior, their lives will be trouble free from then on. One only needs to look at the Apostles to see that all had harsh lives and all but John died a martyr’s death.