What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
These verses summarize what I have written in two of my previous posts. Those posts covered King Solomon and his quest for understanding man. In Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 Solomon writes about setting his heart to seek the understanding of man’s actions. As a result of this quest he realizes how hollow man can be.
In Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 Solomon writes about the forces of life, God, the universe, and the vanity of man. He tells me, for man to think that these forces don’t exist, or that man can change them, well that is truly vanity.
So now in Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, Solomon tells us the results of toiling and striving after worldly things under the sun. The constant toil for worldly items brings sorrow and vexation. It is vanity, it is pointless.
I realized this as I worked my way up through a company, trying to constantly improve my standing within the company. I was successful at it. So other than pride what was my motivation? Mainly to insure my family could live comfortably and did not want. But upon achieving this goal, which was measured by a paid in full mortgage, children receiving higher education without debt, nice trips and memories, I realized a chunk was missing.
Although I had a great family, the best wife I could ask for, and some financial security, my heart did not rest at night. I would lie in bed wondering, is this it? Do I now just pay the bills, do some fun things and continue to do what I’ve been doing for the past 25 plus years until they bury me?
This brought me to reading my Bible. I was seeking with my heart, answers or guidance to what is my purpose. I started delving into the questions, why am I hear and what am I supposed to do? I never approached reading the Bible as I’d just give it the once through and then I’ll be set. When I started, I did know I was looking for something but I didn’t know what it was. Even today I have to say I found a mountain of guidance and help but I am still seeking. Perhaps, like King Solomon, I continue to seek understanding of this gift of life that God has given me.
What Solomon is summarizing in these verses, Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, is what he learned by setting his heart to use his wisdom to understand what goes on in the world. What he learned is that without God in your heart there is nothing, life is vain, life is pointless.
Through Solomon, David, the prophets of the Old Testament, the saints from the New Testament and Christ, I have learned that the first step to seeking understanding of my gift of life is putting God in my heart. All else is vanity and a striving after wind.
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