I opened my Kindle Bible last week. I was looking for a scripture to jot down on a note for my loving teenagers. Instead of finding uplifting scripture for them, I found this one…for me. You see I was the one having a pity party the previous day. Ouch. So, I read on…BTW, this the longest post I’ve ever posted. However, most of it is scripture, with a little commentary. So, I apologize for the length, but this is what I felt the need to share…
Ecclesiastes 1 New International Version (NIV)
Everything Is Meaningless
1 The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”3 What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say.The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
Pretty uplifting, huh? Well, when I got home last night, this is pretty much how I felt. I guess everybody who has ever lived has gotten tired of it all. Work, work, work and for what. Get married, have kids, they grow up, they complain, they disobey, go to work some more, wash dishes, wash clothes, clean the house, wash the dog,,..blah blah blah.
Wisdom Is Meaningless
12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;what is lacking cannot be counted.16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;the more knowledge, the more grief.
Okay, anyone suffering from depression might want to stay away from this particular book of the Bible…If King Solomon can feel sorry for himself, what hope do I have? But, now I was in for a penny and in for a pound, so I kept reading.
Pleasures Are Meaningless
2 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Wow. Was King Solomon on an ego trip or what? He was saying that he had it all, and it was never enough. So often, I look around at the blessings the Lord has given me and feel the same sentiments. What’s the point? Go live in a shack in the wilderness? Well, it is in the Bible, so there must be something to glean from this, right? So, I read on:
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,a time for war and a time for peace.
Bingo. Wow, this has to be one of the most read/listened to scripture. Beautiful poetry in one of the most depressing books of the Bible. I think I’ve heard this excerpt at nearly every funeral I’ve ever gone to. Skipping over a bit…
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
So, the Lord gave us beauty, and knowledge, and wisdom and love and …opportunity to be nice and do good and be happy. He also gave us the ability to feel satisfaction.
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
So, I am not a Bible scholar. However, I think this might bring us to a very popular quote. “Life is not a destination, but a journey”. So, maybe the Lord wants to be part of the journey and not just the destination of heaven. What if He wants us to invite him in for the whole thing? I don’t know about you, but that certainly changes my attitude.
King Solomon’s earthly father, David, wrote in Psalm 118: 5 In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. 6The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies…. 24This is the day the Lord has made;let us rejoice and be glad in it.
So, what do you think? Will you join me as I try to walk the talk. I have been known to encourage my family to live for the journey. If they are reading this, they are surely smiling.To enjoy the car ride together as much as the beach trip. To enjoy dinner time even if the food is not as good as Vee’s homemade dishes. Enjoy the carpool time, because one day, I won’t be needed to drive carpool anymore. Enjoy the work that the Lord has provided me with the opportunity and skill to do. Encourage those in my path each day. Be kind. If I see a need that I can fill, try to do just that.
I will try to spend more time in scripture to allow lessons to find my heart. Yes, there will be boredom, frustrations, and disobedient teenagers. Yes, my husband will annoy the living daylights out of me. Yes, there will be plenty of people who fall in my path who irritate me beyond my limits. Yes, there will be plenty of times when I will reach a point that I just don’t know what to do. Yes, I will feel disappointment at the hands of those close to me. I am going to try to live for the journey and ask the Holy Spirit to stick close by. If I keep reminding myself of His proximity, I won’t be so likely to go into fits of anger, or anxiety. As often.