The Whole Duty of Man

Ecclesiastes 12:13

The writer of Ecclesiastes, presumed to be King Solomon, speaks of life as meaningless: “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ Says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless'” (Eccles. 12:8).

He goes on to say that one can have wealth and fortune, power and prestige, pleasures and achievements, but then asks what they bring to life and what eternal value they have.

A popular philosophy today motivates people to grab all they can. Self-gratification. Survival of the fittest. The more we have, the more we want. There are bumper stickers which say: “Whoever has the most toys at the end wins!”

Is that what life is really all about? If so, then we have all come to the point where life has no real meaning. True, we must love ourselves as we love others.

“Vanity” (the word used in the KJV) is thinking so highly of ourselves that nothing else really matters. We are number one. All else is secondary. And we must satisfy all our needs—at the expense of anything or anyone.

Solomon had everything, or so it seemed. He had wealth beyond measure, a kingdom to rule—he even had a thousand wives and concubines! Yet he was not satisfied. Something important was missing. He referred to his own life as meaningless and futile. There had to be something more.

People try to find meaning in life. Some find it easily. Others struggle for many years. Unfortunately, there are those who get tired of searching and settle for an easy way out. They may try drinking, gambling, drugs, crime or sex, but they don’t find what they are looking for. The only true meaning to life is found in Jesus Christ.

Vanity? Meaningless? Yes, we can all get caught up in that. We have to look beyond ourselves to others, and then we must look upward—to our Lord and Savior.

“Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Beverly Ivany, Teen Talk


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