It Don't Mean a Thing

Featuring Toby Baxley Posted on March 25, 2008


"Absolute futility," says the Teacher. "Absolute futility. Everything is futile."


He has [also] put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.

Imagine for a moment that the wisest man ever to live is going to sit down at the end of his life and tell you everything he knows. You wait eagerly, and then are completely shocked and even disappointed when he comes out and launches into a discourse about the futility of life one earth. You’ve heard of Solomon’s wisdom, insight, and understanding, which is famed to be as vast as the sand on the seashore, and all he has to say is that life under the sun is absolutely meaningless. What a rip off!

There seems to be a thread of deep regret in the old king’s voice as he retells the story of his life. On and on he goes recounting his many attempts to find heaven on earth: pleasure, possessions, work, and wealth among others. He even counts his own wisdom as futile because he realized that he would die just like your average fool. At one point he says, “I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.”

So what is the point? What are we to learn from all this? We are eternal beings. We are all born with eternity woven into our DNA. However, like Solomon, many of us are in relentless pursuit of heaven on earth and we try to achieve it through many things: houses, cars, wealth, influence, and so on. At the end of the day though, when our souls are quiet before the Lord, we realize, like Solomon, that these things are not enough to fill the eternal longing in our hearts and that the true meaning of life is not actually found in this life, but in the next—the eternal life. We may see glimpses of it here, but the “real deal” is still waiting for us on the other side.

C.S. Lewis put it like this:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Lord, we know that the desire for the eternal comes from you. Christ’s resurrection is the ultimate example that real life waits for us out past the edges of our earthly existence. Give us eyes to see and wisdom to invest our lives and resources in the things that will matter in the eternal life that is to come.