The death of Apple founder Steve Jobs from cancer may well go down as the news story of the year, or at least be close to it. His death at the age of 56 has certainly caused many to momentarily reflect upon the fact that “Life is short”. David in a contemplative moment wrote of this fact in Ps 144:4 that “Man is like a breath, his days are like a passing shadow”.
Some will say “It’s sad, but that’s life, his time was up”. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes said “there is a time to be born, and a time to die” (Eccl 3:2). Ecclesiastes is a journal of the teacher’s deep thoughts on the meaning of life.
Ecclesiastes opens up with the words, “Meaningless, Meaningless “ or “Vanity of Vanities” , depending up your preferred translation. Other word’s used include “Futile”, “Pointless”, “No purpose” and “non-sense” and “nothing is worthwhile”; you get the picture.
But is that what all that the teacher was trying to get across in these opening words? A friend of mine, Derek Hanna, a few years back now, when preaching through Ecclesiastes suggested there was greater depth to these words. Derek suggests “The Teacher isn’t saying life is meaningless… he’s saying it’s brief, fleeting, like the wind – here today, gone tomorrow. Life is transient, passing by.”
James (4:14b) also took this view of life:” For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”