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A person’s final words may contain the wisdom of a lifetime distilled into a sentence. John Wesley’s last words were repeated several times, “The best of all is, God is with us.” Wise Solomon at the end of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (12:13)


The difficulty here is that the final words written by Kohelet, the only known author of Ecclesiastes, were “Futile, completely futile, I say to you, everything we do is futile.” The last words in the appendix to the book of Ecclesiastes were written later by someone who wanted us to know that everything Kohelet wrote “was honest and true” and that his wise words could help us to honour and obey God. The real message of the book is found in Kohelet’s wisdom about what we can truly gain from all our hard work upon this earth. It is a great book that gives us mankind’s oldest and most complete philosophy of work.

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