walk in the word
24There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? —Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
If ever there was a human who strolled down every avenue of potential satisfaction without finding it, that person was Solomon, the ancient king of Israel. The Biblical book of Ecclesiastes chronicles his experimentation with every pleasure from achievements, to alcohol, and from advanced academic studies, to sex with a different woman every day. Solomon explored all the conceivable iterations of the “lifestyles of the rich and famous.” What most people fantasize, Solomon had the means to make happen. He had it all and he knew it. Yet his tears of frustration are easily heard in his words, “So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:17). Solomon discovered what so many fail to realize: that history is in a repetitive loop of personal and societal futility, and that everything is ultimately empty. Human experience is much more shared in common than marked by diversity, more universal than unique. We are all the same at the core.
Solomon rightly concluded that fulfillment must come from a source outside ourselves and beyond this world: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25).
Do you get it? God made you that way. God designed you so that you can’t find fulfillment or enjoyment apart from Him. It’s not in you. There is a universal longing in the human heart for fulfillment. Do you sense that same longing in yourself? Have you known the emptiness of so much that we anticipate? Looking back to my younger years, I remember frequently suspending my expectation of fulfillment as I waited for that one missing thing . . . Life becomes a complex puzzle that is always missing the piece that makes the picture make sense. Some are more patient than others in concluding with finality that no configuration of relationship, possession, or experience can give what only God can supply. You can take my word, Solomon’s word, and God’s Word for it, or you can waste a lot of time and effort discovering that truth for yourself.
Dear Father, help me to remember that I don’t have to repeat other people’s mistakes. Thank You for including so many valuable life-lessons in Your Word that can guide my decisions and understanding about my own life. Thank You for showing, through Solomon’s words and life, that nothing and no one can take the place in my life that You alone are worthy and able to fill. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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