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The Conclusion of the Matter (11 of 11)
Series: The Pursuit of Happiness
Good morning. We started our study of Ecclesiastes at the end of May, and here we are at the end of August, wrapping it up. It's a really unique book of the Bible, isn't it? I think I said the first week that some people find it refreshing, because it's so brutally honest. Other people find it confusing or depressing. So I'm sure some of you are sad it's ending, and some of you are thinking, ''If I see that goldfish on the stage one more time, I'm walking out.''
I also mentioned that this is the first time I've taught through Ecclesiastes, and I think what struck me the most is that Solomon, the author, avoids giving clichéd, sort of packaged answers to the mysteries of life. Does that make sense? So he honors the mysteriousness and the messiness of life. But within that messiness, there's a wisdom that emerges. And that's what we've been seeking this whole summer.
So: around 950 BC, King Solomon lived and ruled in Israel. He really had it all…but he didn't have peace of mind. One of my favorite movie lines is from the movie Moonstruck, with Cher and Nicholas Cage. At one point in the movie, it's discovered that the 50-something year-old father is having an affair, and when he's confronted with it, in front of his whole family, in the kitchen, here's what he says: ''A man understands one day that his life is built on nothing, and that's a bad, crazy day.'' And that was Solomon. Even though he had everything anyone could want, he had started to wonder if his life was built on nothing. So Ecclesiastes is the record of his search for something to build his life on.
He thought he might find fulfillment in education or pleasure or success…but he didn't. But he learned from those failed experiments. He noticed some things in life, like injustice, and loneliness, and greed, and sadness, and death-and he realized those were clues that could help ...
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