Day 1

Everything Is Futile

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan


Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, Psalm 39:1-13, Matthew 11:28-30

BY Amanda Bible Williams

“Am I the only one in this house who knows how to load the dishwasher?!” I bark my question loudly to everyone within earshot and no one in particular. Instead of listening for an answer, I groan and scrub another bowl with cereal flakes glued to the inside. I’m annoyed, and I need them to know it. But underneath my irritated sighs, there is another feeling—a fleeting but familiar twinge of disappointment in my heart’s bent toward temporary things.

This was the scene at my home last night. And banal as it is, it’s the one that comes to mind when I think of the word that echoes throughout the book of Ecclesiastes: futility. Looking for lasting meaning apart from God is futile—as futile as trying to keep the kitchen sink empty in a house filled with snack-obsessed kids and coffee-dependent adults. “‘Absolute futility,’ says the Teacher. ‘Absolute futility. Everything is futile’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

It feels silly to compare King Solmon’s words to my kitchen drama, and even to admit the drama to begin with. I’m a grown woman, for crying out loud! Do I really expect an empty sink to fill me up? The honest answer is, yes, I sometimes do. In the same way that I tie some bit of my self-worth to the cleanliness of my countertop, I try to craft meaning in a thousand other things: the work I do, the clothes I wear, the photos I take and captions I create, the behavior of my children, the affection of my husband, the size of my bank account and my waistline. It’s exhausting, really. Solomon knew it too: “All things are wearisome, more than anyone can say” (v.8).

Ecclesiastes is the wise king’s record of his own search for meaning in life “under the sun” (v.3)—that is, life here on earth. In it, Solomon found what we, too, find if we tug on our meaning threads hard enough: every earthly thing unravels. Nothing lasts. No man-crafted meaning can fill the human heart in a full and lasting way.

As hopeless as it sounds, this is good news because it points us to the only source of true meaning and fulfillment: Jesus Christ. In the kingdom of God, life’s meaning is not determined by a mortal king’s earthly research, but by the Eternal King’s perfect goodness, justice, and love. The world we see with our eyes is temporary and fraught with futility, but our life in Christ is everlasting and marked by mercy.

Ecclesiastes isn’t a light read, but it’s a worthwhile one. Like every other book of the Bible, it is the true and inspired Word of God, given to us that we might know and walk with Him. So, settle in and get out your spiritual bifocals, friends. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you learn to view life through a kingdom lens. As we read, may we learn to find our heart’s home in Christ alone.

Post Comments (185)

185 thoughts on "Everything Is Futile"

  1. Cindi Tillapaw says:

    More, more of God and less of me! Praying for the Holy Spirit to help me every day ! With having so much time at home I need a different routine with God in the center!

  2. Connie Patenaude says:

    Once again reminded that my worth comes from God alone!

  3. Lisa Caroline says:

    I love the juxtaposition of these thee passages. It’s hard sometimes to come to terms with my own feelings of insignificance. Important to remember that my significance is in Christ.

  4. Kat O’Brien says:

    Such an important reminder. It’s so easy to get sucked into day to day tasks and chores.. or feeing like I have to workout to look a certain way and for it to make me “feel good” about myself. It’s actually a relief to read that all these things are futile. Please help me to remember this going forward, Lord.

  5. Morgan Gast says:

    Love this. I often find myself looking for the next best thing or wanting everything to be perfect—hoping to find value and happiness. Great reminder that true fulfillment and happiness comes from Jesus Christ.

  6. Brooke Caron says:

    I agree that this couldn’t have come at a better time! This season has certainly been a very big reminder that no matter how hard we try, only God can provide us with certainty.

  7. Tricia Baxter says:

    It is so easy to get caught up in this world and trying to live up to an image or a standard that we or someone else has painted for us and to judge our worth by that standard…but none of it matters really! All of it will fade away. Set my focus on YOU God as I walk through this storm.

  8. Elisabeth Soto says:

    Wow so good! Thank you for this reminder. Lord please help me to store my treasures in heaven and develop a true relationship with the source of all life – you!

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