“What’s life all about?”

“What’s it all about Alfie, it’s just for the moment—are we meant to take more than we give, or are we meant to be kind? And if, only fools are kind, Alfie—then I guess it is wise to be cruel. I believe in love, Alfie—without true love we just exist, Alfie. Until you find the love you’ve missed, you’re nothing Alfie.”

These are some lyrics from the 1966 hit song, “Alfie,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David to promote the movie, “Alfie.” In 1967, it was #5 on R&B charts after being recorded by Dionne Warwick.

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “ completely meaningless” Ecclesiastes 1:2, the words of a backslidden king. The book Ecclesiastes is unique in scripture in that it’s the only book in scripture that reflects a human, rather than a divine point of view. Be careful when quoting from this book that you don’t confuse God’s inspired word from the futility of a purely human viewpoint.

In chapter two, the writer examines the philosophy of hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure as the chief end of life. Live it while you can because soon it will be over was the mantra when I came of age in the 60s. “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good, but that also proved meaningless” (2:1).

The great novelist Ernest Hemingway lived the kind of life this backslidden king describes. He achieved fame and fortune in his early twenties. He lived among the literary elites in Paris; hunted big game in Africa; watched bullfights in Madrid; fished for blue marlin in Cuba and enjoyed endless wine, women, and song wherever he chose. Yet he was always questioning the value of his life. On July 2, 1961, he took a shotgun off the wall in his Idaho home and ended the life he obviously did not value.

If you lost everything you currently own, possessions, wealth, family, and friends–would you have everything left, or nothing left? Many are asking, does life offer something more significant than these fleeting moments of time? Do you live for a cause that will outlast your lifetime? Do you have a purpose for which to invest your life that is bigger than the person you see every morning in the mirror?

We live in the moment, but we must live that moment in the light of eternity. If not, soon enough you will face what Alfie, Ernest Hemingway and countless others have faced–what’s life all about?

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that we were made for nothing less than eternity. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Eternity is in the hearts of all men, mankind. God put it there. The activities and events of this life are only valuable if they not only bring joy, peace, and fulfillment for today, but also for eternity. If you don’t have peace about how life began and how it’s going to be lived in eternity, you will struggle answering the question—what’s life all about today?