There is no other book in the Bible like Ecclesiastes. Many think the author had a pessimistic view of life. Over and over he speaks of the vanity of life in this world – that it is confusing, fleeting, perplexing, and in the end, everyone dies! He asks whether there is anything worth doing in this life that would enable us to overcome life’s vanity and futility. He seems to conclude that none of our toiling or efforts can result in “gain,” by which we can overcome the fact that nothing satisfies or results in anything that is truly “new.” What we will discover is that the author, called in the book “the Preacher,” is not a pessimist, but a realist, who wants to help God’s people understand how we can live for God and enjoy his gifts in a broken, complex, confusing and often absurd world. He does this by speaking into the hard realities we face in this world. He makes the point that we can’t change and have no control over the hardest realities of this world. The hardest reality we all face is death. So ultimately he is addressing the question: how do we live given the fact we will die? Yet in the midst of wading through these hard realities, he is able to call us to find enjoyment in the everyday rhythms of work, eating and drinking, and family life, as gifts of God. And even though living for God doesn’t guarantee we avoid all “vanities” of this world, the Preacher affirms that fearing the Lord and keeping his commandments is always the wisest way to live, both now “under the sun,” and in view of our coming judgment before God.