Ecclesiastes: Living and Leaving

It was very early in the morning. I was with four other guys at the Toronto airport, waiting for our flight home to Pittsburgh. We were returning from ten days of ministry in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya. I was sitting next to Tunch Ilkin, and we were musing about life. We started talking about trips we had taken with our families. Tunch told me about a favorite spot and said, “You have to take Lori there.” Then he got more serious as he repeated, “You have to make the time to take Lori there. You never know how much time you have together.” Tunch knew firsthand that death had come too soon for his first wife, Sharon. And now, after a battle with ALS, Tunch is gone as well. Death comes to us all. Solomon reminds us of that as he starts wrapping up his reflection on life “under the sun.”  

Ecclesiastes 9:1-3
But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Solomon says that in this fallen, broken, and messed-up world, one thing is for sure—we all will face death. It comes to the one who has lived a righteous life, a person who has followed hard after Jesus. And it happens to the one who has lived a wicked life, a person who has walked away from Jesus. Death comes to the “good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.” Solomon says, “This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all.” Solomon is not saying death is evil—although it is the result of sin. He is saying that when the godly and wicked both die, that really seems to be unjust. The murderer dies just like the nurturing mother. The drug dealer dies just like the person who runs an orphanage in a third-world country. It doesn’t make sense to us. 

We live in a world that doesn’t make sense because this is not the way it’s supposed to be. Life “under the sun” is confusing. Throughout our study of Ecclesiastes, we have learned that there are things we will never understand. These things don’t lead us to despair but to trust. And coming to grips with our mortality is a major part of that trust. We submit ourselves to the sovereign hand of God. Our life is in his hands. One day, in his perfect timing, he will call us home. Accepting that death is certain and that our days are in the hands of God will finally allow us to live. 

Father, my life is in your hands. That’s so easy to say, but in reality, I want to be in charge. Death reminds me that I am not in control. You alone are God. I submit my life and death to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Have any Question or Comment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This week on The Journey:


Your Gift Matters

If you have been encouraged, strengthened, or helped by The Journey Ministry, please consider partnering with us by sending a generous gift to The Journey. Your gift will help us continue to bring practical, spiritual insights to you and to thousands every day.

Thank you for giving – you are a blessing to us!


Sign up for The Journey Daily Devotion

* = required field



Do you need prayer?