A couple of Christmases ago, I shelled out and bought one of my cousins a brand new basketball. “The Spalding TF-1000 Legacy with Deep Channel Design has a game-ready feel straight out of the box. It is used by some of the best high school and college athletes on the planet, and the ball has a composite cover that gives your hands good grip. It’s cushioned for control and built for a true bounce. -spalding.com”
Yep, I spent way too much for this top-of-the-line indoor basketball, only for my cousin to immediately take it outdoors and play on the hoop in the driveway. Needless to say that it now has a hole and a small leak and that soon it will be worthless. Simply a deflated pile of composite rubber.
That’s just the thing about basketballs. Whether you spend $100 or $1, once that ball has a hole and a leak, the value becomes $0. Without the air, it’s just a piece of garbage.
There are some parallels to draw here. Especially given the state of the world right now. Drive around town. Bustling businesses, swarming schoolyards, energetic eateries, bars, restaurants, malls, parks, are all deserted and empty. Although business and schooling and cooking goes on, the buildings that once housed all these things are barren and vacant. There is no difference between a Fortune 500 building or a Mom and Pop shop down the street. Their walls and roofs and utilities are meaningless.
Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.
Life can feel meaningless even during peaceful times. Now that everyone is isolated at home, perhaps it feels even worse. Why have school if you can’t see your friends? Why have a job if you just put yourself at risk to catch a deadly disease? Why have a relationship if you can’t spend time with the one you love? Life can feel meaningless even during peaceful times. But right now, life manages to simultaneously feel empty and crushing. What’s the point? Every day feels the same. Time seems to alternate between an excruciatingly slow crawl and a breakneck sprint.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Perhaps you, too, feel empty and out of place. Like the wind has been sucked out of your sails. Like you are all alone and devoid of anything inside. So perhaps, then, there is no better place to read in Scripture than Ecclesiastes.
The Preacher despairs of his life. Yet not because he has nothing. And certainly not because he’s stuck at home. The author of Ecclesiastes has incredible wealth. He has ultimate authority in his kingdom. He is the wisest man in the world. Hundreds and thousands of wives. He has accomplished incredible feats of building and music. Yet he felt empty, like he was chasing after the wind.
You’re not a basketball. And you’re also not King Solomon. But like them, you may feel like you’re empty and that life is meaningless. And if friends, family, job, and memories were all that made up life, you would be empty, and life would be meaningless. But that is not the case.
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Your life is not empty. Even when you are at your lowest and most depressed, it is not a worthless, meaningless life. Even though you fear and doubt and shake and sin. No, not at all. Your life is not worthless.
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Your life was empty. Empty because the things of this world cannot possibly fill us up. There is no air with the world, just a slow suffocation. But then Christ redeemed you. And your life was no longer your own, but it became Christ’s! The price? The blood of the Son of God. And now He has filled you up.
Life without Christ indeed is meaningless. But life within Christ has purpose unimaginable! He fills you up with hope and love. He inflates you with wisdom and truth. He pumps you up with His Word and with the Spirit of the Lord. Best of all, it’s not you who is doing the filling. It is God alone who raises you up.
Solomon recognized it long ago. Life without Christ is not life at all.