Ecclesiastes is rich with words of advice for us. Most likely written by Solomon, this book of the bible delves into his life and reveals to us just where God fits into all of it. The first couple of chapters of the book stress how seeking pleasure, finding wisdom and hard work won’t get you into heaven. They are all like chasing the wind.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-26 (excerpts from the NLT)
“…I also tried to find meaning by building huge home for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees…I collected great um of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces…I had everything a man could desire! Anything I wanted I would take. I denied myself no pleasure…it was all so meaningless – like chasing the wind.”
“…Yet I saw the wise and the foolish share the same fate. Both will die…what’s the value of wisdom.”
“…I came to hate all the hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. And who can tell if my successors will be wise or foolish?”
Sound familiar? My mouth dropped open this morning as I read these two chapters. But it got even better…
“And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.”
Is it wrong to seek pleasure, work hard and find wisdom? Absolutely not, but it should all be done with God’s Glory at the forefront. Seek, work and find as long as you are doing it all to strengthen your faith, lift up others and get yourself to heaven. Do all those things with that one thought in mind. Above all respect God when you are doing all these things.
What Solomon found was when he did those things for selfish gain – they were meaningless (like chasing the wind). The thing about chasing the wind is you can never catch it. It always slips through your fingers – because it is the wind. We can run and try to sneak up on it, but we will never succeed in attaining it. When we do all those things for personal gain, then we never catch the meaning of why we are doing it. So what happens? We continue to do it all over again – trying so hard to find meaning and fulfillment, yet we cannot seem to do just that.
Yes, Solomon has some wonderful points in these first two chapters and I love how he sums up the second chapter…”What is happening now has happened before…”
So true. I like to think my struggles and issues are new to God. I like to think that I have a special circumstance that no other has ever felt or gone through. That is just not the case. Look around. There are people going through struggles just like you at the grocery, at a restaurant, in their car, in your neighborhood, at your church, in your family, and within your very own circle of friends.
Seek God first. Work for God first. Find God first.