In Chapter Two, the teacher seeks the value of pleasures and possessions, stating in detail what he’s done to chase after earthly things.
He concludes by saying,
“All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.”
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord.
It is so easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest of our lives. Whether it’s name brand purses, perfectly manicured nails, or getting that fabulous moment into an Instagram square, all have the ability leave us feeling “meh,” even once we’ve gotten what we wanted. The feeling of dissatisfaction dwarfed the people of Israel on their journey from Egypt to Canaan. Even the Disciples felt dissatisfied when Jesus left a parable unexplained or changed the route of their missionary journey. But this is not something the Lord desires for us.
The teacher admits that although wisdom is better than foolishness 2:13, both lead to the same end, thus stressing the finality of death. This final chapter of all our lives ends the same — this should actually encourage us as believers! I write final- ity of death because the finality of life does not exist, as we are eternally living with Heavenly Father whether in this life or the next. This serves as a reminder that we are not to judge those who (seemingly always) act foolish.
There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his la- bor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind. 2:24-26
Solomon provides readers with a “best of” attitude regarding work. Paul reiterates the same point when he writes to the Colossians, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” 3:23 In addition to a better attitude, we can expect wisdom, knowledge, and happiness from the Lord when we follow this command.
Reflect: Have you ever felt dissatisfied with your work? How can you change your outlook on your work as “from the Hand of God”?
Act: Volunteer your time this week to helping someone in need.