Will I Be Remembered? Posted on August 31, 2023, updated on August 31, 2023 by Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. Ecclesiastes 1.11: Reflection on Forgetfulness and Significance Ecclesiastes 1.11 says, “ There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of latter things yet to be among those who come after.” He is saying people quickly forget history, people and events of the past. Which begs the question, will I be remembered? This is what we generally refer to as significance; knowing my life will have a lasting impact in the world. Solomon’s short answer to this question is – no. Transient Nature of Remembrance People don’t remember what was done in the past nor will they remember you and me. This is how Solomon felt and this sentiment is somewhat true. Given enough time people and events are eventually forgotten. Who I am and what I have done will be remembered by some people for some period of time, but not for that long. It is yesterday’s news. What is a news cycle, three days maybe before something else takes its place? This being the reality, what does it matter how I live? Those who come after me won’t remember or care. The Fate of Future Events and Individuals Whatever momentous events or people that will come in the future will also be forgotten by those who come after them. Anyone who has lived over 50 years knows this to be true. Sure some things will be embarrassing in the short-run. There can be negative or positive consequences for things done in this life. But how relevant is it all in the scope of human history? Is Solomon a hedonist, saying eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die? Questioning Life’s Meaning and Legacy This will not be his final conclusion about life. If this life is all there is then the only remembrance that matters is the short-run – my lifetime. Who cares if I am forgotten, I won’t exist after this life anyway. How do I want to be remembered by loved ones and others? What quality of life do I want to experience? If I want a life well lived then it would make sense to live by God’s life principles as given in scripture, even if there is no God. These principles have been proven to work in making people happy. Divine Perspective and Afterlife If there is a God then there is something after death. In this case again it doesn’t matter what people do or don’t remember about me. The only opinion that will be important is God’s. For this reason God tells me to prepare to meet him someday (Amos 4.12). He tells us we all have an appointment with death and after death there is a judgment day; a day of accounting to a holy God ( Hebrews 9.27; Revelation 20.11-15). Essence of Life and Its Impact What matters about how I live is not about who remembers what. Rather it is about my quality of life and happiness and the happiness of others important to me. In the case that there is a God and life after death; I am only concerned with God’s opinion of me. Solomon is here stating a partial truth from the human perspective. We can only assume the implied conclusion to this statement is that it doesn’t matter what you or anyone else does in life because nothing is remembered. Solomon’s Melancholic Reflections It is all part of the melancholy outlook of a man disillusioned with his life. He has lost his way and in the process his purpose. This is from a man who everyone would have said at one time about him, “he had it all together; he was truly on top of the world.” Can you relate to him? People can find themselves no longer living by principles they passionately believed in and at one time taught others. Now, like Solomon they are lost and disillusioned with life. They don’t know what to believe and feel their life has no meaning – it is all vanity. Loss of Meaning and the Need for Challenges Life has not only lost its meaning and purpose; it no longer presents a challenge. A challenge is the positive stress of life that starts the adrenaline pumping and energizes me. Not in a false or addictive sense but in a proper, balanced way. Without meaning my life will never achieve its full potential. That is why people make statements like “I’m bored,” which is something we never allowed our kids to say. We would tell them when they say this it just means you are living below your potential. “What can we do to help you come up to your potential,” we would say. They would usually run outside to play and get unbored. Adults, like children, are all about fun, because God made us this way. We are made to explore, learn, discover, create and conquer the creation given to us. Embracing Challenges and Counterfeit Thrills We all do this in different ways for our piece of the creation according to our personality and design. This is what makes us come alive each day. If we substitute a false design or challenge like a bored child, it won’t work. It may provide a temporary excitement or thrill but it won’t last. The problem with counterfeit challenges is that they don’t get rid of the boredom for good and they create other problems in our life. This is exactly what happened to Solomon. Navigating the Spectrum of Enthusiasm If you wonder where you are on the continuum between boredom and the thrill of living your design; consider how you wake up in the morning. Are you excited to start each new day and get on with what God has planned for you? Or do you lay in bed dreading to face another day? Do you need some type of artificial stimulant to just get through school or the work day? We can all probably relate to this feeling at some time in our lives. Solomon tried many things to get “unbored” and out of his negative view of life. They weren’t all bad, some we would consider good things but nothing seemed to work for him. Timeless Principles for Human Flourishing Human nature is to get bored with something once the newness has worn off. God has given us principles to live by. These principles are just as relevant to life today as when they were first given thousands of years ago. They can’t be improved upon. Many of these principles were foundation stones our nation was built upon and were what made us a great nation. Solomon would rediscover these principles by the end of his book. Like Solomon we would do well to return to and implement these principles into our life. They will cure your boredom with life. They will give us a life well-lived; a life people we care about will remember. This will be the legacy we leave behind. A life that will live on through others because of the positive impact it will have on them. Let’s us help you discover and live that out. If you would like find out more about Gateway Counseling or schedule a session with John Hawkins Sr. contact us today.