Purpose for living V

I welcome you, dear friends, to „Daily Word for Spiritual Edification”! We have been studying the Book of Ecclesiastes which describes Solomon’s search for the goal and the meaning of life.

After Solomon forsook God for a season, he tried to find happiness and satisfaction in different things and activities. We see that Solomon made several attempts which all lead to disappointment. For a wise person Solomon’s experience can become good lesson in what the wrong ways to happiness are. We mentioned that Solomon sought happiness in education and knowledge, in fun and pleasures, in beauty, in works of men’s hands. Afterwards he came to a conclusion that despite the fact that all these things are important and necessary for living, none of them can make us happy, if God is excluded from our life. Solomon said that everything under the sun is vanity and grasping for the wind. Solomon’s conclusion was that everything that happens under the sun is vanity and grasping for the wind – if apart from God.

Today we will look at some more areas of Solomon’s life where he tried to find happiness and satisfaction. Many people try to do that. Let’s look at the Scripture.

«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. Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me»(Ecclesiastes, 2:16-17).

I am sure that every one of us is familiar with the feeling of disappointment and frustration Solomon was talking about. He worked very hard but did not see an end to all the work he needed to accomplish daily. Life consists of work that cannot be completed. But even accomplished work and different achievements cannot bring us true happiness and fulfilment, if God is not in them. Solomon realized that different achievement cannot bring fulfilment apart from God. We know that Solomon worked hard and accomplished a lot. It says in Proverbs (13:4):„The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich”. Our souls are made rich through our diligence, but on one condition – if God is present in our work.

Let’s look at Solomon’s accomplishments. Despite them Solomon said that he „hated life”: «…I hated life… Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me».

The first 11 chapters of 1st Kings recite all of Solomon’s achievements. I will give you a short record of them.

  • Solomon was extremely wealthy (1 Kings, 4:22-28).

  • Solomon expanded his borders (1 Kings, 4:21).

  • Solomon was famous in the whole world as an author and scholar (1 Kings, 4:32-34).

  • Solomon built a magnificent Temple – the House for the Lord (1 Kings, 6). This Temple became the world centre of beauty (1 Kings, 7).

  • Many foreign kings brought gifts and tribute to Solomon (1 Kings, 4:21).

Despite all of this, despite his hard work and the hard work of other people, Solomon made this conclusion: «For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity!»(Ecclesiastes, 2:22-23).

Many of us would want to have a bit of what Solomon owned and had achieved. But when a person has a wrong attitude towards riches and property, then all of it brings bitterness, sorrow and anxiety instead of bringing joy and happiness. The truth is that God alone gives true joy and ability to enjoy the fruit of our labour. «Here is what I have seen: it is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor – this is the gift of God»(Ecclesiastes, 5:17-18).

Solomon claims that the ability to enjoy life and the fruit of one’s labour is the gift of God. If we exclude God from our lives, we will never experience real enjoyment. Work in itself cannot give us any happiness. Through hard work a person can succeed in this world, but, as Solomon says, this type of success is fleeting and temporary; as soon as the person dies, his success ceases to mean anything. So it is very important to understand that there is no happiness, enjoyment and any meaning in work apart from God. So many people give too much of their time to work and overrate its significance. For some of us, work has taken the place of God. Because of work some people do not have time to fellowship with God and spend time in His Word. God’s view of work is expressed in Ecclesiastes (2:24-25): «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 was, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I?»

It is a very important matter. We must clearly see that without God we are not able to enjoy work and we can neither eat nor drink. So a person is deeply mistaken, when he is caught up in projects and works and forgets about God. When our priorities are confused and God is not first in our lives, then we work against ourselves and are on the road to destruction. That is why the Old Testament commanded people to observe Sabbath; they were commanded to rest from all of their works and spend time with God.

My dear friends, God wants us to understand that there is no happiness and fulfilment in achievements and hard work, if there is no God in them, if there are not based on our relationships with Him and if there is no eternity in our hearts.

We will continue tomorrow! Be blessed!

Pastor Rufus Ajiboye

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