Perspective can be both powerful and humbling. It show us the bigger picture. It also shows us how small we are. Ecclesiastes is a book that seeks to give us perspective. Though often seen as negative, it is realistic – showing us the emptiness of our labour and our wisdom and teaching us that the only thing that really matters is God and serving Him.
Ecclesiastes 6:10-12 talk about how vain and empty our lives are in comparison to an eternal, all-knowing God, who is in control and oversees all things.
“That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it isEcclesiastes 6:10-12
man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he. Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is manthe better? For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?”
Everything that happens has already been planned (‘named’) by God. In other words, God knows what will happen and often intervenes to direct things according to His plans. As a result, we cannot content with God because He is so much more mighty than us.
Also, the many things that we try to do on our own only increase our vanity and do not necessarily make us better. Without God’s help, we don’t really knows what is good for us. We simply will live vain lives as a shadow passing away. And no man can tell us what the future holds.
Of course, this realistic perspective of the vanity of our lives and all of we try to accomplish is meant to diminish our pride in ourselves and our faith in God. He is the One who knows the ends from the beginning. He stands outside of time and spaces. He can give our lives meaning and purpose. He knows the future, and so we should fear Him and trust Him. Life without God has no meaning; life with God has abundant meaning.