The End of the Matter

Jessica Heikoop

READ : Ecclesiastes 12:9-14

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (v. 13)

In Ecclesiastes we read of Solomon’s search for life’s meaning. This great king was renowned for his wisdom, wealth, possessions, and accomplishments; he had everything anyone could ever hope for on this earth. But these things – particularly his many wives and their idols – eventually pulled his heart away from God. As he drifted farther and farther from the truth, he searched everywhere for happiness and purpose. But over time he realized that all the things he tried were meaningless.

Thankfully, he eventually found the answer he had been so desperately searching for. At the end of this book, he wrote these words: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (v. 13). All of his searching led him to this conclusion: “Fear God and keep his commandments.” That is how life’s meaning and purpose can be summed up.

This is also mirrored in Paul’s life. As he says in his letter to the Philippians, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8). Paul did not place his hope or find his life’s meaning in anything he had accomplished or gained. Like Solomon, and like so many others, Paul found meaning in knowing Christ alone. May we also come to know Christ in this way – and the meaning and purpose that are found only in him.


Lord God, may I fear you and keep your commandments every day of my life.