The End of the Matter

The End of the Matter

All is vanity,

A chasing of the wind:

We have our dreams,

But nothing in the end.

We have our birth and death,

We have our work and play.

But all is meaningless,

What else is there to say?

The end of the matter,

When all is said and done,

We’re here for a purpose,

Not just going ‘round the sun.

Not just for toiling,

Not to shake our booties;

But in life to live for God—

This is our sacred duty.

I have had my pleasures,

I’ve had my share of pain.

I’ve enjoyed the sunshine,

I’ve been refreshed by the rain.

I’ve been on the playground,

And I’ve surely been in school:

I’ve been a wise man,

But I’ve also been the fool.

The end of the matter,

When all is said and done,

We’re here for a purpose,

Not just going ‘round the sun.

Not just for toiling,

Not to shake our booties;

But in life to live for God—

This is our sacred duty.

People enjoying sex and drugs,

And forever rock and roll.

Money and accomplishments,

But nothing soothes the soul.

With angry fists and voices lifted,

In unbelief we taunt:

But for every word and deed,

Be sure, we’ll give account.

The end of the matter,

When all is said and done,

We’re here for a purpose,

Not just going ‘round the sun.

Not just for toiling,

Not to shake our booties;

But in life to live for God—

This is our sacred duty.

This is our sacred duty.

This is our sacred duty.

In life to live for God—

This is our sacred duty.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. ~  John 17:3

Many people don’t like the book of Ecclesiastes, stating that it’s “depressing,” but they miss the point of the book entirely. The book is not saying that everything in life is meaningless. After all, God has blessed life, work, and play (provided it’s not sinful). However, the life apart from God is empty, and nothing can truly satisfy us apart from God.

Many are familiar with the words of St. Augustine of Hippo, in which he writes, “You awake us to delight in your praise; for you made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”[1] This is the point the writer of Ecclesiastes is making. Making good grades, getting a good job, attaining wealth, having great sex, having fun parties, enjoying the best foods, etc. will not truly satisfy the space in the heart. The writer is not saying that none of these things are pleasurable, but they will neither satisfy nor sustain a person ultimately.

Isn’t it worth considering that the richest people in the world are never satisfied with all the money they have? They still want more. The same thing with other pleasures and vices. But at the end of the day, there’s still something missing. Occasionally we’re surprised to learn that some persons who seemed to have had it all end of taking their lives.

The writer is not saying any pleasure in life is bad and empty. However, where persons will truly find their purpose and fulfillment, strangely, is by fearing God and walking in His ways. Furthermore, those who simply live for the pleasures while dismissing God will not only give account one day, but all of these will be stripped from them.

1. Why would fearing God and keeping His commandments prover to be a good thing? Why would we find fulfillment in these?

2. How does Jesus define eternal life?

3. What does Augustine mean when he says that our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God?


[1] Saint Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, ed. Hal M. Helms (Brewster, MA: Paraclete, 2010), 3.

(From the book, Metal Head Devotions, by Geno Pyse, available through amazon.com)