The other day I asked God, “Why am I here? Am I just waiting around until I die to go to Heaven? What am I supposed to be doing? What is meaningful? I really was asking what meaning is there in what I do each day.
God led me to read Ecclesiastes. My goodness! The King Solomon, who was the wisest and richest man who lived, asked the same question! Ecc. 1:3 “What profit does man have left from all his toil at which he toils under the sun? [Is life worth living?] Ecc 2:11 Then I looked on all that my hands had done and the labor I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it, and there was no profit under the sun.” Ecc 2:15 “Then said I in my heart, As it happens even to me. And of what use is it then for me to be more wise? Then I said in my heart, This also is vanity”.
This man sought after meaning and purpose in labor. He gained wealth beyond any man, he obtained any pleasure he wished for, he gathered silver and gold, he planted orchards and gardens, and many other things, but he claimed it “But this also was vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!” Ecc 2:11 “Then I looked on all that my hands had done and the labor I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it, and there was no profit under the sun.”
So, again I asked God, “So then, what is the purpose of labor if all is futility?” and I read on.
Solomon talked about how there is not much difference between a foolish man and a wise man if you look at the outside or the appearance. A foolish man can be rich also, but both must die. What he did say is God wants us to enjoy life and our labor but with Him. Rather he asks, Ecc 2:25 “For who can eat or who can have enjoyment any more than I can – apart from Him?”. Ecc 3:18 “I said in my heart regarding the subject of the sons of men, God is trying (separating and sifting) them, that they may see that by themselves [under the sun, without God] they are but like beasts.”
Solomon reminds us to draw near to hear and obey God. He makes comparison to the wise and fool and how the days are evil. He also shares that our human wisdom is limited for a reason and he reminds us that we all have sinned, even Solomon, who sought God and knew Him intimately. Ecc 7:29 “Behold, this is the only [reason for it that] I have found: God made man upright, but they [men and women] have sought out many devices [for evil]”. Ecc 8:12 “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his days [seemingly] are prolonged [in his wickedness], yet surely I know that it will be well with those who [reverently] fear God, who revere and worship Him, realizing His continual presence.”
Solomon reminds us that what we do here, on earth, while we still have God’s breath in us, will all come before God for judgement. Ecc 12:6-8 [Remember your Creator earnestly now] before the silver cord [of life] is snapped apart, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern [and the whole circulatory system of the blood ceases to function]; Then shall the dust [out of which God made man’s body] return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God Who gave it.” Ecc 12:14 “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil.”
There is meaning to my labor, and I have freedom to enjoy life. Ecc 9:7-9 “Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart [if you are righteous, wise, and in the hands of God], for God has already accepted your works. Let your garments be always white [with purity], and let your head not lack [the] oil [of gladness]. Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun – all the days of futility. For that is your portion in this life and in your work at which you toil under the sun.”all sin, breath of life, enjoy, evil, fear God, foolish man, futility, judgement, labor, meaning, purpose, under the sun, wise man