Maybe you've seen her in the lab, or playing the guitar in chapel... Senior Kayla Zuiderveen is Alma's most recent Fulbright Scholar and an enthsiastic star gazer!
The Bible is depressing.
Okay, not exactly, but the first few chapters of Ecclesiastes certainly are. If you’re ever in an overly optimistic mood and wish you could feel a little less happy, give Ecclesiastes a try; it’ll turn your smile upside-down in no time. If I could sum up the first three chapters in a sentence, it would be this: everything we do is meaningless.
Solomon had a point when he penned Ecclesiastes:
“The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south and turns to the north;
round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
Pretty depressing, huh? Perhaps the reason I have been so drawn to this passage lately is the senioritis I’ve been experiencing. It’s so much easier to shirk assignments when I’m convinced they’re not worth anything in the long run. Even Jesus describes the meaninglessness of the daily grind:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves to not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
But neither Solomon nor Jesus ends on a blue note; instead, they offer some very wise words of application: “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Paul echoes Jesus’ words when he reminds the Galatians about the point of human life:
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law in summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I guess the message that hit home for me was to keep things in perspective. The things that occupy our minds now – that next exam, paper or recital; the romantic melodrama; being accepted to the fraternity or graduate school of choice – these things pale in comparison to our calling as followers of Christ – to love and to serve.
During Lent, don’t let the college scene overshadow what really matters. Remember to love instead of judge, to encourage instead of tear down, and to treat other people as if they were more important than you. Otherwise, everything we do is nothing but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal, meaningless, a chasing after the wind. And that’s depressing.