Grasping for the Wind
"Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor." Ecclesiastes 2:10
"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." Ecclesiastes 2:17
The importance of the book of Ecclesiastes lies in exposing the vanity and the meaninglessness of life apart from living in relationship to God and His Kingdom. Solomon is able to look back on his great accomplishments and write a priceless warning to each person in succeeding generations of the folly of finding meaning apart from loving God and loving people.
In these first two chapters, Solomon gives a brief description of his many accomplishments. Externally, he is the most successful king in Israel's lengthy history. He refers to his wisdom and knowledge as unequaled, a fact proven in his own lifetime. Rulers came from distant lands just to sit at Solomon's feet to learn from him. He extended the rule of Israel far beyond that of any time before or after his reign. His military might has never been equaled. The wealth he brought to Jerusalem made pure golden vessels as common as those made of clay.
Solomon also excelled in his ability to gratify his appetite for any pleasure he desired (2:1-3). There was no food, wine, woman, or music that he could not freely enjoy. Yet, in spite of having beyond what any many could consume, in the end he saw his life as utterly meaningless. He repeatedly described his life as "vanity and grasping for the wind." All the earthly pleasures he experienced ultimately had no meaning because his life was but a brief moment in the scope of eternity. He had to face the fact that he could take nothing from his accomplishments with him when he died because none of it was done as an expression of love for God or humanity (1:3-11, 2:18-20). His life was nothing more than endless toilan effort to keep and use what he had created (2:20-23).
The bottom line is simple. Even the greatest pursuits in life will ultimately be meaningless sorrow if they are not lived as an expression of love. Conversely, when even the simplest pursuits are done in and for God, they become meaningful, bringing pleasure to our inner being. The fact is, we will never "find ourselves" or the satisfaction our inner being cries for until we find it in God.
In God, the simplest accomplishments or the greatest deeds among humanity equally become just the opposite of "vanity and grasping for the wind." Life lived in and for God makes each task meaningful and enduring because it is united to God and His Kingdom, which never fades away.
-Calvary Church Boise
Created almost 2 years ago