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By on February 16, 2014 in Answers, Kohelet, Koheleth, Meaningless, Work, Youth with No Comments


Sooner or later every person comes to the message of Ecclesiastes. This short biblical book is the skeptic’s view of life and faith. The author was Solomon, I believe, and he would most likely have written this near the end of his life, though he still had some years left in him. But it is the divinely inspired book that questions everything in life that conventional wisdom says should be rewarding and meaningful.

The typical advice given to young people is to study hard, work hard, make good connections with trustworthy people, prove yourself to be reliable and dependable, and life will pay off for you. You will have everything you need, most of what you have dreamed of, and will look back upon your life in gratitude and look forward to eternity with hopeful anticipation. Ecclesiastes questions this basic assumption. It questions whether it is even true, that the race always goes to the swiftest, and second, it questions the value of such a life anyway. A big “So what?” hangs over our seemingly successful lives in this book.


Kohelet, the author of Ecclesiastes, certainly makes the point that these things pursued as an end in themselves will let us down, it will be a futile pursuit.

But he also notes that the blessings of God can be enjoyed on a daily basis. He says things like,

“If God gives a person wealth and possessions and also enables him to enjoy them, by accepting his lot and being happy in his work, this is a gift from God.”

“Eat your bread with gladness and drink your wine with a Joyful heart for today your work is blessed by God. Put on your best clothes, use your finest perfume and enjoy each futile day of your fleeting life with the people you love for these pleasures are God’s gift to you in your toilsome labor under the sun.”

To young people he says, “Be happy while you are young and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.”

When we forget that Kohelet is comparing the pursuit of gain against the enjoyment of God’s creation through a daily walk with our creator we miss his point and think he is a depressed old skeptic. Actually his message is one of positive affirmation and perhaps the most complete theology of work in the whole Bible.

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