Tonight after church, we are going to eat pizza and then go bowling. Should be fun. My arthritic hands won’t let me bowl anymore, but I can sure make fun of everybody else!
This is a bit long, but bear with me. Listen to what Solomon has to say. It’s easy reading, and well worth the time it takes. Remember, Solomon was king.
Eccl 1:1…..These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. 2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless!”
3 What do people get for all their hard work? 4 Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. 5 The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. 6 The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. 7 The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. 8 Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. 10 What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn’t already exist long ago? 11 We don’t remember what happened in those former times. And in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done in the world. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. 14 Everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind. 15 What is wrong cannot be righted. What is missing cannot be recovered.
16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” 17 So I worked hard to distinguish wisdom from foolishness. But now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. 18 For the greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.
Eccl 2:1…..I said to myself, “Come now, let’s give pleasure a try. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. 2 “It is silly to be laughing all the time,” I said. “What good does it do to seek only pleasure?” 3 After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. While still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I hoped to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
4 I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. 7 I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned great herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who lived in Jerusalem before me. 8 I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
9 So I became greater than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. And with it all, I remained clear-eyed so that I could evaluate all these things. 10 Anything I wanted, I took. I did not restrain myself from any joy. I even found great pleasure in hard work, an additional reward for all my labors. 11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
12 So I decided to compare wisdom and folly, and anyone else would come to the same conclusions I did. 13 Wisdom is of more value than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. 14 For the wise person sees, while the fool is blind. Yet I saw that wise and foolish people share the same fate. 15 Both of them die. Just as the fool will die, so will I. So of what value is all my wisdom? Then I said to myself, “This is all so meaningless!” 16 For the wise person and the fool both die, and in the days to come, both will be forgotten.
17 So now I hate life because everything done here under the sun is so irrational. Everything is meaningless, like chasing the wind. 18 I am disgusted that I must leave the fruits of my hard work to others. 19 And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? And yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work. How meaningless!
20 So I turned in despair from hard work. It was not the answer to my search for satisfaction in this life. 21 For though I do my work with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, I must leave everything I gain to people who haven’t worked to earn it. This is not only foolish but highly unfair. 22 So what do people get for all their hard work? 23 Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night they cannot rest. It is all utterly meaningless.
24 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that this pleasure is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? 26 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. Even this, however, is meaningless, like chasing the wind.
King Solomon has tried everything. Have you ever wondered what is the purpose in life? He had the means to try everything he could to find satisfaction in life, but it was all meaningless. Read on, as we skip down to chapter 12:
Eccl 12:1…..Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living. 2 It will be too late then to remember him, when the light of the sun and moon and stars is dim to your old eyes, and there is no silver lining left among the clouds. 3 Your limbs will tremble with age, and your strong legs will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to do their work, and you will be blind, too. 4 And when your teeth are gone, keep your lips tightly closed when you eat! Even the chirping of birds will wake you up. But you yourself will be deaf and tuneless, with a quavering voice. 5 You will be afraid of heights and of falling, white-haired and withered, dragging along without any sexual desire. You will be standing at death’s door. And as you near your everlasting home, the mourners will walk along the streets.
6 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. 7 For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
8 “All is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless.”
9 Because the Teacher was wise, he taught the people everything he knew. He collected proverbs and classified them. 10 Indeed, the Teacher taught the plain truth, and he did so in an interesting way. 11 A wise teacher’s words spur students to action and emphasize important truths. The collected sayings of the wise are like guidance from a shepherd.
12 But, my child, be warned: There is no end of opinions ready to be expressed. Studying them can go on forever and become very exhausting!
13 Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
Did you catch that? Nothing in life has meaning and nothing can give you satisfaction, except respecting and obeying God! Simple as that. Every other attempt to find happiness is meaningless without God.
Ps 37:4…..Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. NIV
If you just concern yourself with serving God, He will give the happiness you so desire.