“Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.”
A few years ago, I stumbled across a pretty cool website designed to help create photo albums. In a few minutes, I was able to design a picture book capturing a recent family trip. Ecclesiastes is a bit like a photo album, capturing the travels of Solomon, in pursuit of the meaning of life. Solomon had the unique combination of great wealth and intellect. As a result, nothing was beyond his reach as he searched for the meaning of life, in the midst of living. His journeys took him down many different roads. Sadly, he found no matter what road he traveled, he seemed to end at the same destination. A place he called “Vanity of Vanities.”
Ecclesiastes 1:13 “I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven…”
His first pursuit was to acquire knowledge. He thought if he studied more, he would understand more, and that would make him happy. Solomon became a student of life. His pursuits gained him great knowledge and prestige. People traveled great distances to hear him speak on a variety of subjects, including botany, biology, zoology, philosophy and astronomy. While knowledge is a good thing, and education has great value, Solomon discovered the meaning of life was not found in being the smartest guy in the room. He learned knowledge could not satisfy the craving of the heart; and the more he knew, the more it hurt.
Ecclesiastes 2:1 “I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure’; but surely, this also was vanity.”
When knowledge didn’t satisfy him, Solomon chose to pursue pleasure. Because of his great wealth, he denied himself nothing he thought might make him happy. He had any woman he wanted, threw lavish parties with the most exotic themes, drank, partied, and sought to have as much pleasure as money could buy. Sadly, at the end of that road, he found life was empty, and in his wake, he left a trail of devastated lives.
Ecclesiastes 2:4 “I made my works great…”
If wisdom and pleasure could not make him happy, certainly stuff would. He decided to live by the motto of “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Solomon built palaces and stables throughout the land to house all the stuff he had acquired. The more he got, the more he wanted, and the less he was satisfied. He took a long hard road that ended in the realization, “life is not found in the abundance of things that one possesses.” (Luke 12:15)
Ecclesiastes 2:17 “Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.”
Poor Solomon. All his wealth, intellect, parties, and possessions could not satisfy; and he was left hating life. Solomon is not alone. History is filled with men and women who spent all they had in pursuit of life, only to come up short. Even today, with all the modern advances, people are coming to realize, there must be more to life.
1 John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Since we were created to know God, the true meaning of life will only be found when we are in a relationship with God, through Christ. Instead of spending your life in pursuit of something you will never find, come to Christ and experience abundant life.