Running On Empty

Jesus Christ left His lodging in heaven because of His longing for fellowship with you. Look at Him hanging on a blood-soaked Calvary, there you can see Him just dying for fellowship with you. 

He so earnestly wants this to be a lasting fellowship that He has prepared a permanent place in heaven for you. He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you…”

You have even been given a heavenly summons to enjoy fellowship with Him: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (I Corinthians 1:9).

This fellowship is intended to provide for the greatest longing the human heart can experience. It is to enable persons to avoid an empty longing feeling. It is intended to make yours a gratified and satisfied life.

He said, “I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.”  He wants you to experience abundant life; life with supernatural additives. This is what everyone wants and needs. 

The drama of life turns to a tragedy or at best a comedy of errors at this point. We have been deceived to think there are ways of having a full and meaningful life apart from fellowship with God.  It doesn’t work and God has given us a case study to prove it. It is the life of Solomon. For a glimpse of life out of sync with all that is right turn to the most pessimistic writing every penned. It is the Book of Ecclesiastes.

The book opens with the expression, “The words of the Preacher…” It is literally “The man with a message…” That is what the preacher should be. In a technical sense he is not a preacher and his income is but one indication of that. He had an annual income from one source of $20,000,000. Keep that in mind as the story progresses.

Solomon was a king, not a preacher. He was a believer, but he was out of fellowship. In his life, as in every life, this caused an emptiness; a sense something was missing. Being out of fellowship with the Lord, he had a yearning for this fulfilling feeling. Unfortunately, he unwisely began to search for a substitute for fellowship. 

The reason the book is so pessimistic is that most of it was written while out of fellowship. Being out of fellowship he writes to tell of seven experiments he tried as pseudo substitutes for fellowship with God. The opening verses depict the void in the life of one out of fellowship.

“Vanity of vanities” (1:2), means “emptiness of emptiness.” Being out of fellowship with the Lord and trying to find a substitute for fellowship is like trying to fill a vacuum with a vacuum. Life without Christ is empty. Five times he uses this expression. A sense of futility results.

Life without the Lord is a merry-go-round of nothings (Vs.4).

Nature is used as an illustration of life’s emptiness out of fellowship (Vs. 5).

The water cycle is used as an illustration of just going around in cycles. Rain comes down, runs into the streams that run into the oceans. The oceans evaporate and moisture is taken inland as clouds and descends as rain and the cycle is repeated.

Incidentally, this was penned thousands of years before scientists understood the hydrological system in nature.

This man had everything physically one could ask for in order to complete experiments for substitutes for fellowship with God and describes this in verse 12.  He exhausts himself, as many still do, in trying to find a substitute for fellowship with the Lord that will be as fulfilling; something that will give life meaning.