Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:
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.
Observation: Everything we have here is temporary, we are only here for a while, we should not strive for abundance and riches here in this place, but rather work for the rewards of eternal value.
Application: As I read Ecclesiastes I feel like I can relate to Solomon a little. I certainly don’t have the same problems as he had, but I’ve definitely been down the same paths of thought as in our scripture he relates the weariness and uselessness of all he has tried to accomplish. All the labor, all the struggles, and all the other things that occupy our time under the sun, it’s all vanity, it’s all meaningless its like chasing after the wind. And I’ve had those same thoughts myself as I’ve looked at the things I’ve done, and am doing in my life.
But one key word in our verses above stands out to me, the last word in verse eleven, sun makes me think about where Solomon was in history, and where his hope for the future lay. Solomon’s life was without a doubt filled with spiritual ups and downs. He fell away from God during certain times, and as I read through his writings I have to wonder if he had any hope for life after the grave at all. Perhaps in the end he understood, but there is no question in my mind that he struggled greatly with it. And I think as I see that last phrase in verse eleven, “Nothing was gained under the sun.” I think I understand that for us to, the same applies, we gain nothing for our toils under the sun, but for those who are in Christ Jesus, we gain much for our toils under the Son!
For Solomon, the Son had not yet risen, so all his labor was under the sun. But we labor not under the sun (working for this physical life and the pleasures that it contains) but we labor under the Son (working for the eternal life and the rewards of heaven) for a treasure that is beyond anything this world has ever contained.
These verses actually made me think of a New Testament verse, a quote from Jesus and I think the words of the true Son speak volumes for us in reply to Solomon’s lament:
Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal:
Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Mat 6:21 for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.
Prayer: Glorious God,
Please help me to realize that this world is only a temporary stop over in a much larger plan that you have for me. That this physical life is but a moment, and that I will soon be in a greater place of eternal security. Keep my mind focused therefore on working to build up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. Help me to labor always under Your Son!
Yield: I surrender the struggle of thinking I need to get rich, and that my life would be better if I could; I don’t have to amass a fortune here in this life, to be immensely wealthy in the next – I’m not taking this stuff with me, I’m sending better stuff forward.