And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. (Ecclesiastes 2:10)
Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 2:15-17)
I…I…I…my…my…my… this is the mantra of Solomon and all too often it is the theme of my own life. You can almost hear the yearning of Solomon’s soul as he continues to seek satisfaction for himself, but perhaps satisfaction cannot be found when we are so self focused. As long as “I, I, I and my, my, my” remain the center of all we do it seems pretty clear that all will be vanity and chasing after the wind. For, no matter what we achieve, death will take it all away.
Solomon recognizes that everyone’s life (the wise or foolish, rich or poor, etc) ends the same way…death. All he does, all he accomplishes, will be gone in a moment. Death renders all his striving pointless…vain. So why try to achieve anything. What’s the point?
Maybe, just maybe, the meaning and purpose Solomon seeks can only be found outside himself. Perhaps we are not supposed to be the center of our own universe. Could there be something or SOMEONE around which our lives were designed to center…one who can even conquer death and fill our lives with meaning and satisfaction?
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.