Kenneth Williams was a comic actor who appeared in many films, plays and shows from the 1950’s until the 1980’s. He is particularly remembered for his roles in the ‘Carry On’ films. He suffered from depression and, despite his fame and popularity, the last words in his diary before taking an overdose were, ‘Oh, what’s the b***** point?’ .
Recently Maureen and I spent a few days in Eastbourne. One day we walked to the top of Beachy Head which is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 metres (531 ft) above the sea. When we reached the highest point, we were surprised and moved to find several small crosses, with accompanying bunches of flower, placed along the cliff edge where, presumably people had ended their lives. We were also surprised to see a Chaplain and an ‘Observer’ who are permanently based there. Around the cliff area there are also signs providing information about contacting the Samaritans.
In the Bible, King Solomon was a very successful King of Israel. He was fabulously wealthy, famed for his wisdom and wrote the following:
There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke. What is there to show for a lifetime of work, a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone? One generation goes its way, the next one arrives, but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old planet earth. The sun comes up and the sun goes down, then does it again, and again—the same old round. The wind blows south, the wind blows north. Around and around and around it blows, blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind. All the rivers flow into the sea, but the sea never fills up. The rivers keep flowing to the same old place, and then start all over and do it again. Everything’s boring, utterly boring— no one can find any meaning in it. Boring to the eye, boring to the ear. What was will be again, what happened will happen again. There’s nothing new on this earth. Year after year it’s the same old thing. Does someone call out, “Hey, this is new”? Don’t get excited—it’s the same old story. Nobody remembers what happened yesterday. And the things that will happen tomorrow? Nobody will remember them either. Don’t count on being remembered.
From the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter one, The Message.
Solomon went on to write that all he had worked hard for might be frittered away by a fool who might come after him, so what was the point of all Solomon’s hard work? Also, he said that everyone dies, the fool, the wise, the rich the poor. He even wrote the following:
Humans and animals come to the same end—humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there’s really no advantage in being human. None. Everything is smoke. We all end up in the same place—we all came from dust, we all end up as dust.
Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verses 19-22. The Message.
Now, if Solomon had left it there, it would be a deeply depressing, despairing message indeed, but he had a faith in God and at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes he summed up the point of life:
Honour and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young…
Ecclesiastes, Chapter 12, verses and 2. The Message.
The message of the Bible is that there is a God who created all things and loves you and me:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Gospel of John, chapter 3 and verse 16. New International Version.
The Bible says that God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ:
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Gospel of John. Chapter one, verse 18. New International Version.
Listen to this invitation from Jesus Christ:
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
Gospel of Matthew, chapter 11, verses 28-30. New International Version.
Are you ‘weary’ or ‘burdened’, maybe with guilt or regret? Go to Jesus in prayer and experience the ‘rest’ he promises – rest from the burdens of guilt or regret.
So, what is the point?
One of the church’s statement of belief says that the point of life is to ‘glorify God and to enjoy Him forever’. This can be experienced through Jesus Christ. If you have never done so, why don’t you pray now for the forgiveness and ‘rest’ He promises…