Topic: “Finding Joy in the Meaningless”
Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 34–36; Hebrews 2
Memory Verse: Ecclesiastes 2:11
When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Today’s Scripture & Insight: Ecclesiastes 2:1–11
The book of Ecclesiastes was most likely written by Solomon; the author is said to be the son of David (1:1) and king of Israel (v. 12). This is significant because as king, Solomon had access to everything he needed to conduct his “experiment” of finding meaning by pursuing the things that humans desire the most (2:1–11).
Additionally, throughout this search for meaning and despite indulging in worldly pleasures, he notes that he was still being guided by wisdom (vv. 3, 9). We’re told he was the wisest person to have ever lived (see 1 Kings 3:11–12).
ODB MESSAGE FOR TODAY
In 2010, James Ward, the creator of the blog “I Like Boring Things,” launched a conference called the “Boring Conference.” It’s a one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, and the overlooked. In the past, speakers have addressed seemingly meaningless topics like sneezing, sounds that vending machines make, and inkjet printers of 1999. Ward knows the topics may be boring, but the speakers can take a mundane subject and make it interesting, meaningful, and even joyful.
Several millennia ago, Solomon, the wisest of kings, launched his own search for joy in the meaningless and mundane. He pursued work, bought flocks, built wealth, acquired singers, and constructed buildings (Ecclesiastes 2:4–9). Some of these pursuits were honorable and some were not. Ultimately, in his pursuit of meaning, the king found nothing but boredom (v. 11). Solomon maintained a worldview that didn’t press beyond the limits of human experience to include God. Ultimately, however, he realized that he’d find joy in the mundane only when he remembered and worshiped God (12:1–7).
When we find ourselves in the whirlwind of tedium, let’s launch our own daily mini-conference, as we “remember [our] Creator” (v. 1)—the God who fills the mundane with meaning. As we remember and worship Him, we’ll find wonder in the ordinary, gratitude in the mundane, and joy in the seemingly meaningless things of life.
Reflect & Pray
Why is it so hard to find meaning in things that can never satisfy? How do you need to reprioritize your commitment to and worship of God so you can find your meaning in Him?
God, take the unremarkable moments of my life and infuse them with Your joy and wonder.
Our Daily Bread 5 November 2021 Devotional written by Marvin Williams published by Our Daily Bread Ministries. Read more