What one common factor characterizes most Americans’ lives? Busyness.
Before we even get out of bed, a long agenda looms before us. Overworked people labor to make ends meet for themselves and their families, pushing, striving for more…for better lives. In the end, all the activity—while possibly producing more money—leads to fractured relationships and empty souls. The few who dare to slow down even ask, What is it all for, anyway?
Solomon was one of the few. As king of Israel, he inherited great power and wealth. On top of that, God heaped wisdom so rare that all of the world took notice and honored his opinion. He had everything people in his day and ours still pursue, but Solomon couldn’t escape the pointlessness of it all. Why do we work so hard for such meaningless things? Even if we attain our goals, we still face death in the end. Surely, we were meant for something greater than this world affords.
At face value, Ecclesiastes—presumably written by Solomon—seems like a pessimistic view of life. Is everything truly vanity, chasing after the wind? Solomon, with his God-given wisdom, says it is. When we make the material possessions of this world our top pursuit, we miss our meaning in this world. Promoting ourselves without God’s direction as a reference point sends us on an endless pursuit of emptiness disguised as pleasure. But, as those who have attained total worldly success can attest, the joy simply isn’t there. There has to be more.
And there is. The secret to life’s joy lies in the One who gives it. Peace and rest comes to the ones who seek refuge in God, who make Him their life’s pursuit. Living simply, honestly, in obedience to Him brings fullness to our relationships with each other and Him. His glory becomes our purpose, and the pursuit of pleasure in Christ continues to yield deeper and greater joy.