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Everything is meaningless

King Solomon writes about true meaning in life.
Contributed by Richard Gunther
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese
King Solomon was a man who had great power and riches. He could do anything he wanted and lived a very rich lifestyle, full of all kinds of pleasures. He was a thinking man also and wrote about his life, his experiences and how he felt. And many of the things he thought would bring him happiness only brought sadness. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless,’ he wrote. – Slide 1
Solomon noted that everyone dies and that when you die you lose all the things you have made and bought and owned. ‘What does a man get for all his hard work?’ he asked. – Slide 2
He noticed that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west each day and follows the same path across the sky. – Slide 3
He observed that the wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. – Slide 4
The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full, and the water returns to the rivers and then flows again to the sea. ‘Everything is unutterably weary and tiresome. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.’ – Slide 5
The king looked at the cycle of life, like seeds making plants that make seeds for new plants to grow. Whatever people did now had been done before and would be redone in the future. – Slide 6
Every generation forgot the one before it. Whatever people said was lost and said again by each new generation. – Slide 7
The King tried to find meaning in things that made him laugh. ‘Come now, be merry; enjoy yourself to the full.’ But he found that this, too, was futile. ‘For it is silly to be laughing all the time; what good does it do?’ – Slide 8
He also tried to cheer himself up by drinking alcohol and getting drunk. He tried all kinds of fine wines and drinks. ‘Futile!’ he said. – Slide 9
The king then tried to find fulfillment by planning big building projects: a magnificent palace, stables and a Temple. – Slide 10
He built fine gardens and plantations, vineyards, gardens, parks, and orchards. – Slide 11
He built reservoirs to hold water and irrigate his gardens and crops. – Slide 12
King Solomon bred great herds and flocks, more than any of the kings before him. – Slide 13
He collected silver and gold as taxes from many kings and provinces. He was the richest man on earth. But it did not bring him happiness. – Slide 14
In the cultural arts, he organized men’s and women’s choirs and orchestras. Anything he wanted he took and did not restrain himself from any joy. He even found great pleasure in hard work. – Slide 15
He married beautiful women and had affairs with many other beautiful women. But he grew tired of them all and they led him astray and away from God. – Slide 16
So having tried all the pleasures of earth what did the King conclude? He wrote, ‘As I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.’ – Slide 17
Solomon realised that a life without God is meaningless. ‘For who can eat or enjoy apart from Him?’ he wrote. ‘For God gives those who please him wisdom, knowledge, and joy. Everything else is foolishness – like chasing after the wind.’ – Slide 18
Slide 19