Ecclesiastes 1

ScriptureEcclesiastes 1:2-3  “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”  What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?


Observation-What does it say?  The author of Ecclesiastes is King Solomon, the second son of David and Bathsheba.  Solomon was given the name of Jedidiah by God, through the prophet Nathan, which means “God’s beloved.” (2 Samuel 12:25)  In the opening of this book, Solomon sets out his point of the book using the literary device of pessimism. Here he begins by stating how fruitless the pursuits of this world are, only to later show the contrast of a fulfilling life found in God. 


Understanding-What does it mean?  It’s interesting that Solomon opens with what should be glaringly obvious to us, we spend a lot of time trying to distract ourselves from how broken we are.  In following sports teams, shopping, fitness, whatever it is that distracts us from chasing after Jesus is a fruitless pursuit. But how do we find a meaningful life?  


I recently read an article by a guy named Rob Shaul, a gym owner and graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard academy, about being fulfilled in life.  He starts the article by saying there are no shortcuts in life, and that you don’t really want to take the shortcut anyway. Shaul went on in his article to discuss that fulfillment was found in commitment and discipline.  This sentiment is something that has been repeated in the writings of several elite level coaches. Another coach, Dan John, who was one of the oldest U.S. Olympians competing in the discuss into his forties, stated that the road to success is simple but it isn’t easy.  In his writings, he also highlights the importance of discipline in order to achieve success.


While Solomon isn’t interested in worldly success, and the coaches aren’t necessarily concerned with our spiritual well being, the truth seems to ring true.  If you are looking to find meaning in life, it requires discipline, and meaning in the Christian life requires disciplining our life to the word of God. Throughout the Bible we are given notions of true love being found when we are disciplined to God’s word.  Deuteronomy 6 tells us that we should bind the commandments to our forehead, and study them day and night. In Colossians 3, we are told to do everything as unto the Lord. But how can we do things for Him, unless we know what he has asked us to do? That knowledge can only come from reading God’s word, which requires discipline.


Life Application  Jesus, I don’t want to waste my life aimlessly trying to distract myself.  Help me to find your joy in the discipline of Your commands, and in studying your word daily.  Like Paul, help me to train myself like an olympian, but with the knowledge that my reward is everlasting life spent with You.          

-Tyler Galloway