Life Is Worth Living

W. Terry Varner
August 3, 2014

Have you heard or made the statement, “Life is not worth living?” Many who are despondent feel this way. Many who are directionless feel this way. Many people knowing other things except knowing God often feel this way. Many who lack a biblical relationship with God feel this way. Many would agree with Solomon’s statement, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanities of vanities; all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). This is true when life is lived without meaning apart from God.

What is Good for Man? Living life lacking divine wisdom, but possessing only worldly wisdom, is inadequate, frustrating, and discouraging. Far too many have tried to live life in this fashion and will admit it is so. Solomon said such a life is vain. “For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow?” (Eccl. 6:12). Man values accomplishments. This good. Man’s knowledge is tremendous. This is great that we have access to knowing more and more about things. Man’s wealth, even in this severe economic down trend, is at an all-time high.

From a worldly viewpoint, man’s life is a success. From God’s viewpoint, man’s life without God is vain. Solomon asks, “What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?” (Eccl. 1:3). The answer is, “vanity of vanity, all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). The Hebrew word for “vanity” is hebel and means “emptiness as to results” (Vine 4. 183). It occurs 60 times in the Old Testament, with 34 of these in Ecclesiastes.

Why Is Life Vain Apart from God? Answers to this question abound. When man makes himself the final source for locating worth in life, then his life is vain. When man makes wisdom of the world as the final recourse for locating worth in life, then his life is vain. Apart from God man has no answers to his basic questions—Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Why do things occur as they do? Is this all there is to life or is there life after this life? These questions, and others, raise a series of practical questions—What priorities should I have? How can I keep my labor or work in proper focus? How can I gain control of my life and give it lasting meaning? Why do bad things happen when I am good? These series of questions and concerns would have been on the mind of those reading Ecclesiastes, as they are on our mind. Man, regardless the number of centuries remaining, will always have these same questions and concerns. It is our capacity to ask such questions and have such concerns. It is this capacity which separates us from the animals around us.

Life Has Meaning Only with God. God created and sustains life. He is to be the point of reference from which every event in life is to be framed and understood. We need God in times of crises. We need God when times are good. We need the simple faith of David who wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). Solomon concludes his great book of Ecclesiastes stating God gives life meaning: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13).

Is your life worth living? Do you know God? If not, why? Trust and obey!