The quarantine has kept everyone at home. But in doing so, it reveals the true meaning of life. So many of us are working from home. Reporters give the news from their living rooms. Even American Idol had future stars singing from the bedrooms and garages this past week. There are lots that we don’t like about the quarantine, but if we open our eyes, we will find the meaning of life.
The search for the meaning of life is age-old. From the beginning of time, we have sought for meaning in this life under the sun. We continue to do so. So many books have been written about how to find the best life possible. Movies, plays, and television have all tried to convey the meaning of life. Out of this search, people have gone after those things they believe give life meaning. One such extensive search was done thousands of years ago and the findings of this study are illuminating.
King Solomon, considered one of the richest men ever, had all the resources to conduct an in-depth study. Also known as a man of great wisdom, he had the intellect to interpret his findings perfectly. He had fame as the King of a dominant nation loved by his own people. He experimented with indulgence. He partied like a wild man. He experimented with promiscuity. He went after all of the same things the world would lead us to believe gives meaning to life – fame, money, sex, success. In the end, he determined that all of it was meaningless activity. At the end of the study, he realized that these pursuits added nothing to his life. He recorded his final findings of the meaning of life:
7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (NIV)
His findings ring true with New Testament writers also. The things of this world have no meaning on their own and in the end, we all die. Meaning is found in what we do with the Earthly things God has given us. So many people in response to the quarantine have said they are staying home enjoying the family. The rat race has paused. People are relaxing with the ones they love. The quarantine is revealing the true meaning of life.
According to Solomon, the meaning of life is found in these 5 things:
- Enjoy the blessings God has given, but not to indulgence. God has given us taste buds to enjoy our Blue Bell ice cream, but don’t eat the whole ½ gallon at once. He has given us nature, the cool breeze before sunset, and little furry animals that love us.
- Enjoy your loved ones. Solomon’s early days saw him struggle with women, but at the end of his life, more than once he said enjoy the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18). Don’t go off seeking meaning in women. But meaning is also found when we enjoy our children, grandchildren, and good friends.
- Work hard. It is not the work that brings meaning. We can find people in every occupation that hate life and those who love life. The key is working hard to do our best. This brings a sense of fulfillment whether you are vacuuming a rug or running a Fortune 500 company. When we begrudge our job, life is miserable. Go to work everyday determined to be the best you can be and life will have more meaning.
- Stay humble. Solomon said to be dressed in white. This was a measure of humility. Most royals of that day were dressed extravagantly to point out their position and hold it over others. Puffing ourselves up in front of people only creates pressure that steals the meaning of life.
- Decide to enjoy life. To anoint the head with oil was to bring life to one’s countenance so as not to have a gloomy disposition. Ultimately, meaning in life is found when we make a decision that whatever comes our way, we will not be distracted from the good things God has given. We will live to enjoy life, not in indulgence, but in appreciation of the gifts of God.
Leave me a comment. How has the quarantine revealed the true meaning of life?
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!