“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. -Ecclesiastes 1:2, 8-9, 14
By Kyle Idleman
Have you ever wondered why so many people are bored today, during an age of technological wonders, or over two hundred TV channels? Science writer, Winifred Gallagher, believes that boredom is largely a recent problem that is absent from many other cultures. She describes a Western anthropologist who has studied the bushmen of Namibia for years and has become fluent in their language. He has attempted over the years to come up with an equivalent word for boredom in their language, but there is a disconnect; they don’t understand the concept. The closest they can come to it is tired. Our word boredom didn’t appear in English until the Industrial Age-about the time modern entertainment began to evolve.
Wise King Solomon may not have had a word for boredom, either, but he portrayed it well with words like meaningless and vanity - ”a chasing after the wind.” Solomon made a relentless pursuit of pleasure and entertainment. He denied himself nothing. He enjoyed comedy and laughter, parties and projects. And at the end of it all, his conclusion was that it was all meaningless. He seems to say, “It just wears me out.”
Christian writer, A.W. Tozer, observed that the more vibrant our inner lives are, the less we need from the outside-that is, the more active we are in mind and spirit, the less we need to fall back on external media and other input. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. DO not conform to the pattern of this word, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2). We were made for God, and until he is our greatest pleasure, all the other pleasures of this life will lead to emptiness.
HOW TO FOLLOW JESUS TODAY:
Think about these revealing questions: What are your favorite forms of entertainment? Where and when have you exhibited the most passion and excitement? What kinds of entertainment media have you found to be the most addictive? Decide now that the next time you feel bored, instead of turning on the TV or picking up your smartphone, you’ll do something to renew your mind. (Here’s a hint: Worship and the Word are both good places to start.)