Solomon sought to find meaning in life. He searched down several paths. He tried to find meaning in wisdom, in pleasure, in honest labor, and in wealth and reputation. Ultimately, though, death finds us all, whether rich or poor, powerful or weak, honest or dishonest. Solomon came to understand that much in which we trust and seek happiness is unfruitful. Of the rich man, the one so many envy, Solomon says, “As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?” (5:15-16)
One really needs to read the entire book of Ecclesiastes in one sitting in order to understand Solomon’s teaching. Short of the final conclusion, the words of Solomon drip with disappointment and despair, but the concluding word is coming -- What really distinguishes one person from another is whether or not we have known God and feared him and experienced the joy of fellowship with him and worship of him. But more on that, tomorrow.
Vain are all terrestrial pleasures,
Mixed with dross the purest gold;
Seek we, then, for heavenly treasures,
Treasures never waxing old.
Earthly joys can never please us;
Here would we renounce them all;
Seek our only rest in Jesus,
Him our Lord and Master call. -- David E. Ford (18th century)