Life Viewed from the Empty Tomb - August 2022

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on August 02, 2022

It is hard to read King Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 4-6. As an old man, he looks back and sees that nothing in this life really has meaning.

  • Envy is our horrible motivation (4:4).
  • Future generations will condemn many of today’s decisions (4:16).
  • No amount of money is ever “enough” (5:10).
  • Success may be achieved only to die young (6:2).
  • Rich or poor, good or evil, we all die and end up in the grave (6:6).

This is life “under the sun” apart from the promise of eternal life.

We see that same reason for discouragement in Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 11. He suffered so much for the Christians in Corinth. He even went without pay so that he could set himself off from the traveling philosophers of that day. But it wasn’t enough. Many in Corinth stood in judgment on his ministry and looked up to “super apostles” who were better speakers than Paul and who demanded and got good pay.

Why did Paul put up with all that suffering? Why did he not just wash his hands of the Corinthians?

It is a testament to the power of the Empty Tomb. The Apostle Paul had seen Jesus risen from the dead. Paul’s endurance in the face of suffering and his persistence in a difficult ministry assure me that Paul was not lying when he testified that the Easter Tomb is an Empty Tomb.

That confidence gives meaning to this “meaningless” life.

  • My motivation isn’t just envy – it is to serve the risen Christ.
  • Future generations may condemn my decisions – but I have sought to serve the risen Christ and what is not perfect is forgiven.
  • Money isn’t the goal – it is leading people to know that Christ has risen and offers them a life that will never end.
  • The unfairness of friends who die young – it is offset by the confidence that in Christ the sufferings of this life were light and momentary compared to the glory they experience in Christ’s presence.
  • In the risen Christ, I know that there is a difference among the dead. Those who fall asleep in him, who die as believers, are not really dead at all, but they live and reign with Him.

Solomon’s goal in Ecclesiastes is not to leave us in despair, but to lead us through the despair of a meaningless life apart from God to finding full meaning in the risen Christ.

God grant us clarity to see our lives from the perspective of Jesus’ empty tomb. Amen.

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