Life is Senseless, Meaningless if...

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2
“In this world there are only two tragedies,” said Oscar Wilde. “One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” This paradoxical proverb has often proved true.

World’s Richest Man

Many people think that if they make money they would be happy. And that, I think, is one of the saddest realities in the world right now.

This morning I stumbled upon Howard Hughes' wiki page. I learned that he was one of the world’s richest man during his prime years. He was a "business tycoon, entrepreneur, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, inventor, filmmaker, and philanthropist" and was known as "one of the most financially successful individuals in the world".

However, when he became older, he suffered from extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) and chronic pain and was a drug abuser.

At 65, five years before his death, he still had all his money but was probably the world’s most miserable man.

He was a recluse and had retreated from society, living in small dark rooms in hotels, keeping all the sun out.

He was dirty; his beard grew down to his waist and his hair fell down his back. His fingernails were two inches long. His huge body had shrunk to nothing until his death.

A Rich King

There once was another very, very rich man who found that riches did not satisfy.

His name was Solomon. He wrote a book about it called Ecclesiastes.

This rich king had tasted just about everything life could offer.

Wealth? No one could exceed him in luxury (Ecclesiastes 2:4-9).

Wisdom? The whole world knew how wise he was (Ecclesiastes 1:13-18).

Fame? He was king, the most famous man of his time (Ecclesiastes 1:12).

Systematically he sampled all of life’s pleasures and powers, yet all ultimately disappointed him. All proved meaningless.

What is the point of life? 

He asked.

You work hard and someone else gets all the credit. You struggle to be good, and evil people take advantage of you. You accumulate money, and it just goes to spoiled children. You seek pleasure, and it turns sour on you.

And everyone – rich or poor, good or evil, meets the same end. We all die. There is only one word to describe this life: meaningless.

Life Under the Sun

Ecclesiastes strikes a chord in our age. No century has seen such progress, and yet such despair.

What is the purpose of life anyway? Is there any ultimate meaning? “Is that all there is?” asked one songwriter after listing life’s pleasures.

A key phrase in the book of Ecclesiastes is “under the sun.”

It describes the world lived apart from God and without any belief in the afterlife may bring you to conclude that life is meaningless.

Ecclesiastes gives some words of hope, including the final summary: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

That’s the positive message, the “lesson” of Ecclesiastes. But such positive words are almost overwhelmed by Solomon’s powerful negative example.

You could summarize his whole message in Jesus’ one statement, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).