Ecclesiastes 2:4-11, 18-19
“I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun….I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.”
Does this thought both excite and exhaust you? I’ll be the first to admit it does for me.
It lifts the weight of achievement off my shoulders, but then puts the question of
“What’s the point?”
on my soul.
Even the most wise, powerful, richest man in the world knew that alone, apart from God, life is vain. To work hardily alone for one’s glory and worth produces nothing but the questioning of life’s existence.
What can we learn from King Solomon?
1. Self-care for the sake of pleasure is vanity.
2. Self-preservation for the sake of making one’s name great always ends in death.
We have no control over who receives our hard work or toil, our riches or life’s work. So, what’s the point? Where’s the hope?
The hope is Christ: His promise. His birth. His life. His death. His resurrection. His ascension. Our hope rests solely on His work.
The reality is – We are asked to work hard from the beginning of time (Genesis 1:26-28) and in return are blessed. We work hard pursuing God’s work over the earth because God wishes to bestow His blessings here. I often forget that God’s rules, commands, and hedges of protection are meant for our good and when considered above our own desires, produces unmeasurable blessings, mercies, grace (and the list goes on).
But our work doesn’t qualify us. Only Christ’s work does that.
So, we continue on this life’s path working hard for the Lord and enjoying His creation. Yes, sin will twist and distort, but don’t lose hope. Don’t lose momentum. You’ve got the inheritance of both fools and mighty kings behind you.
King Solomon knew that his death could mean the fall of his life’s work; the kingdom of Jerusalem and even God’s holy temple. But he also came to the conclusion that even if his hard work was inherited by fools, God’s heavenly handiwork would never perish and never end.
Solomon had to separate himself from his glory and give God all the glory.
Can we say the same?
Let’s remember together:
You are not enough, because God did all the work and receives all the glory.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.1 Corinthians 15:58
Always said with humbleness and solidarity,