[PART 8 OF 12]
Solomon set out to find meaning and purpose in life. He was one of the richest and wisest men alive during his time. Yet money and wisdom left him feeling empty. “It is all meaningless,” he said. Even hard work and achievement didn’t provide the sense of purpose he so desperately sought.
Solomon grew frustrated and weary in his quest. He repeatedly made statements like, “Everything is meaningless” and “It’s all just chasing after the wind” and “I hate life!”
But in the middle of all this frustration and confusion and depression (because of everything being meaningless), there is something very interesting that Solomon throws into the mix, just out of the blue.
“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24)
Did you notice the different tone, the sense of confidence in his voice? Solomon reveals to us a marvelous discovery that he has stumbled upon in the course of his search for meaning.
And this is where it really gets interesting.
“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil — this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)
“So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)
“Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him — for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work — this is a gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19)
“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
Do you get the idea that Solomon is pretty convinced of this? This is pretty important stuff! He says the same thing five times!
IT IS GOOD to enjoy life!
IT IS GOOD to find satisfaction in your work.
IT IS GOOD to be happy.
IT IS GOOD to do good.
IT IS GOOD to eat and drink.
These things are from the hand of God. They are a gift from Him to you.
I don’t get it. Work and achievement are utterly meaningless … but it is good for a person to enjoy his work and find satisfaction in his labor. How does that make sense?
Just keep struggling with that for a bit, and let’s see if it begins to make sense as we get closer to the other side of the Oreo cookie.
Part 1: “A Little Birdie Told Me”
Part 2: “Oreo Cookies and the Meaning of Life”
Part 3: “Introducing King Solomon”
Part 4: “King Solomon and the Oreos”
Part 5: “Something Worth Waking Up For”
Part 6: “Cha-Ching!”
Part 7: “Wisdom, Hard Work, Achievement”
Part 8: “Life is Good”
Part 9: “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
Part 10: “Injustice”
Part 11: “Sorrow and Joy”
Part 12: “The Conclusion“
NEXT: “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
- Judgement of Solomon, by Gustave Doré (Wikipedia), Public Domain.