Go, eat your food joyfully and drink your wine happily because God has already accepted what you do. Let your garments always be white; don’t run short of oil for your head. Enjoy life with your dearly loved spouse all the days of your pointless life that God gives you under the sun—all the days of your pointless life!—because that’s your part to play in this life and in your hard work under the sun. Whatever you are capable of doing, do with all your might because there’s no work, thought, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave, which is where you are headed.Common English Bible
Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon, son and successor to King David, and who was wisest person in the world. This audacious statement about King Solomon is verified by this scripture passage from 2 Chronicles 1:7-12:
That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.”
“You showed so much kindness to my father David,” Solomon replied to God, “and you have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be fulfilled because you have made me king over a people as numerous as the earth’s dust. Give me wisdom and knowledge so I can lead this people, because no one can govern this great people of yours without your help.”
God said to Solomon, “Since this is what you wish, and because you’ve asked for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I’ve made you king—rather than asking for wealth, riches, fame, victory over those who hate you, or even a long life—your request for wisdom and knowledge is granted. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame beyond that of any king before you or after you.”
By the time Solomon wrote this passage from Ecclesiastes, he had realized that being the wisest person in the world, even being recognized as the wisest person in the world, didn’t mean what he had hoped. He couldn’t solve the deep issues of life. He couldn’t resolve the contradictions in life where evil people were rewarded and good people suffered. What was the point of his wisdom if he couldn’t fix what was wrong?
But what Solomon had learned was that all his wisdom, power, and wealth were nothing when compared to God’s wisdom, power, and love. The answers Solomon sought were beyond what humans could comprehend, but God already had all the answers, even to questions Solomon didn’t know needed to be asked. Human ability would never be enough, but God is always more than enough.
So after a lot of effort, struggle, and soul searching, Solomon learned not to take himself so seriously.
That’s the lesson from this passage for us. Live the lives that God has given to us with enthusiasm and joy! We haven’t earned these blessings, and we don’t deserve what we have received, but God has chosen to give generously to us. Our greatest successes are tiny compared with what God does all around us, and our most disastrous failures don’t hinder God’s love at work.
Life isn’t about us. Life is all about God’s grace and love for us!
Scripture passages from the Common English Bible (CEB), Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible