Sermon: Living All Of Life Unto God (Ecclesiastes 1-2) -- By: Lee Tankersley

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 15:3 (Fall 2011)
Article: Sermon: Living All Of Life Unto God (Ecclesiastes 1-2)
Author: Lee Tankersley

Sermon: Living All Of Life Unto God (Ecclesiastes 1-2)1

Lee Tankersley

Lee Tankersley received his Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Tankersley is Pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Jackson, Tennessee.

Does your life have any real purpose and meaning? Can you find any real satisfaction in life? These are the questions that everyone in every part of the world asks at some point. No doubt these questions have haunted our minds as well. Yet they are questions that, as believers, we maybe afraid to ask. Maybe we are fearful of asking such questions because we “know” we should not think of them. The man who works 40-50 hours a week at a seemingly inconsequential job wonders if there is purpose. The wife who — over and over each day—changes diapers, does dishes, and keeps her house clean is tempted to ask these questions. Yet we may never ask them out loud because we feel they should not be asked. Then our silence leads us to wonder if we are the only ones thinking about these things. There is good news. The Bible asks these questions. Specifically, Ecclesiastes asks and answers the question, “Is there any meaning and purpose in our lives in the midst of a world that (1) will go on without us once we are gone and (2) is filled with so much injustice?” Therefore, if you’ve been afraid to ask this question, then fear no more; God has asked it for you through the pen of Solomon.

The thought Ecclesiastes asks the question we all ask may make us excited about studying such a book. However excited we may be, once we begin to look at it ourselves, we soon find that it is a very difficult book to understand. We might wonder if Ecclesiastes is anything more than a tirade by the most pessimistic and cynical man who has ever walked on this earth. On top of that, its structure is difficult to discern. The author gives us few clues at how to outline his book. Ecclesiastes is a great blessing to study; it is also a great challenge.

In August of 1527 the plague was wreaking havoc in much of Germany. Out of fear of the plague a great number of students and professors left the university at Wittenberg. Martin Luther, however, continued lecturing to a small group of students who stayed behind. He decided to lecture on Ecclesiastes. By October, Luther wrote, “Solomon the preacher is giving me a hard time, as though he begrudged anyone lecturing on him.”2 I’ve felt that way at times lately. Ecclesiastes is simply a difficult book to outline and to understand. However, as we dedicate ourselves to this task our labor in studying will be well rewarded.

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