"The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher, "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
Solomon was a complex person. He was the son of King David and therefore inherited the throne of the kingdom of Israel at the height of its glory. One day he asked God for wisdom and was bestowed with so much that no other human being before him or after could even come close to his insight. That is until Jesus came. At that time, he was the richest man in the world. He had everything he ever wanted from life. Yet, despite such wealth, at the time of the verse, he was experiencing disillusionment with his own life. Some may say he was the first modern man. He achieved everything he set out to do but still felt his cup was half full.
This Biblical verse screams, "Vanity, vanity...... all is vanity." It captures the more accurate sense of emptiness and lack of meaning Solomon was experiencing: "Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" Ecclesiastes could have been written yesterday. It reflects many of our own dilemmas we pursue in hopes of attaining what we feel should be ours financially. It sends a message that too few truly understand. Life is not about power, possessions, prestige, or popularity. These things will never meet the deep needs of our own hearts.
I remember once speaking to a very wealthy friend years ago. She was always beset with unexpected financial payments in terms of taxes and construction fees. She often experienced feelings of unrest as she wanted to deepen her relationship with her children. One day we sat facing the grand river that bestowed her backyard and I said quietly, "Wow, how I envy you. I'd love to travel as you do and have such a grand pool."
In her deep wisdom she replied, "What is it that I have that you don't already? You have a camper where you've traveled the entire east coast. You have an above ground pool in your own backyard. You have children who adore you. Yes, maybe the scales are different, but you do the same as I do, yet, with the love and appreciation of your boys always. I would simply settle with the latter."
I sat dumbfounded in silence a few moments. Such a simple retort never left me since. And I have yet to covet another's lifestyle from that day. I realized it wasn't the money and lifestyle that made me happy; it was the ability to share what I had with those I love most. Had I not had my family to share my simple assets, then I would not house such fond memories.
Money, power, possessions never meet the deep needs of our heart. We will always be wanting the more we receive. We all hunger for a deeply satisfying relationship with those we love and God. The only purpose to life is to love one and other and to live life with the values and principles God reveals to us in the Bible. With God and those we love in our hearts, our lives feel full with meaning no matter what our assets.