Full Yet Empty Lives

An exposition of Ecclesiastes 6:1-12. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 5, 2010.

It is as old as the Garden.  It is what tripped up our original parents – the sense that I’m missing out on something.  That there is more out there.  There is something that if I could just get my hands on it I would be genuinely happy.  Even when I have all my needs met, I’m satisfied, my life is in a good place, I can easily be conned into believing real life is just over there.  When I learn that someone has something I don’t have…I want it.  I don’t even know what it is but I got to have it.  While most of us would never admit it, we think that wealth brings fulfillment.  That’s why we read People magazine and want to peer into the lives of the “rich and famous.”  “Wow, it must be nice to have that kind of cash.”  “He’s guaranteed how many million whether he plays or not?”  “I don’t know what he’s complaining about I’d gladly trade places with him.”  We end up envying the most miserable people on the face of the earth!  It would be foolish of me to stand up here and say that the rich and powerful have no joy.  It would be foolish because you know I’d be lying.  Of course they have joy.  Of course they enjoy themselves and their wealth provide them opportunities and pleasure most of us will never know but that does not ensure satisfaction in life.  That does not guarantee lasting joy or fulfillment.  To be sure wealth in and of itself is not the problem.  Godly people through the ages have been wealthy and greatly blessed of God.  Wealth, power and influence are not inherently evil at the same time we must acknowledge that they do not inherently prove satisfactory.

Our problem is our scales are off.  As we weigh the evidence the results are skewed because the scales have not been zeroed out.  They are weighted it favor of wealth.  That’s because we view everything from our limited, finite perspective.  We live and think in the immediate rather than the eternal.  The preacher is trying to bring some perspective.  He hammers his message home again and again and again and again until we want to shout, “Enough already!”  The reason he is so persistent in his message is because he knows we really don’t believe it.  He knows that because he didn’t believe it.  Solomon is near the end of his life.  After careful analysis he is saying, “This is what I’ve learned.”  Solomon is like most of us he is thinking, “I wish someone had told me this when I was younger.”  The truth is someone was telling him this he just wasn’t listening.  We don’t listen because we don’t want to hear it – but hear it we must.  Our text this morning is found in Ecclesiastes chapter 6.

Text: Ecclesiastes 6:1-12

Keep in mind the book is about joy – real, lasting, robust, resilient joy – and where to find it.
It is not found in intellectual pursuits.
It is not found in abandonment to pleasure.
It cannot be had through personal achievement, the acquisition of power or the accumulation of stuff.

It is the gift of God to His people.

Chapter six is a discouraging chapter.  It is down right depressing.  If you pull chapter six from its context and read it outside of the preacher’s whole message you would have to conclude life is a dead end street.  Life is hard and then you die – have a good day!

You must read it in the context of the preacher’s whole message.  When you do so you understand that…

The persistent warning of the preacher underscores the necessity of faith in Christ.

The whole of the book comes down to this – life apart from God is a vain thing.  Therefore fear God and keep His commandments.

In our text the preacher sounds three warnings.

  • The preacher warns of the devastation of a full yet empty life.  (6:1-6)
  • The preacher warns of the disastrous effects of discontentment.  (6:8-9)
  • The preacher warns of the utter despair of a godless life.  (6:10-12)

Life is a dead end street.  There is no meaning.  There is no ultimate purpose.  Life is whatever you can make it here and now.  Life apart from God is a vain, worthless existence.  The Gospel is  the good news that there is life eternal and abundant.  It is a life that transforms from glory unto glory and it is yours by the grace of God.

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