READ: Ecclesiastes 1-2
BACKGROUND: The word “Ecclesiastes” comes from Greek which is translated from the Hebrew word (and the original Hebrew title for this book) qoheleth which means preacher or one who speaks at an assembly. The book is written by Solomon, and it has 3 major messages: 1. When you look at all the aimless stuff of life it’s easy to conclude that life is futile, 2. Even though it seems meaningless, life is a gift from God that ought to be enjoyed, & 3. Wise people live in obedience to God. The first chapter leans pretty heavily into message #1 and it is, frankly, a pretty depressing thing to read. The second chapter really points out the futility of wealth and materialism. It’s a good one for Americans to read!
THINK: The Singapore developer of an extravagant condominium advertised its new project as, “Rediscover Heaven on Earth.” I suppose it meant to convey to prospective buyers that their purchase would be so luxurious that it would be like living in heaven while here on earth.
Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, was an extremely wealthy man (Eccl. 1:12). He tried to find heaven on earth and had the means to live as luxuriously as he could wish (2:1-10). Yet he wasn’t satisfied. So disillusioned was he with life, he described it with just one word—“vanity” (or “meaningless”). And he repeated the word eight times in chapter two alone. As long as he looked only at life “under the sun” (2:18), he felt hollow and dissatisfied. All of his striving was ultimately futile. There would come a day when he would have to relinquish his possessions and leave them to someone else (v.18).
If you are a Christian, you can look to Christ’s promise of a heavenly home He has gone to prepare (John 14:2). That’s why Paul advised those who are enjoying what God has given: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).
Those who have their hearts fixed on heaven will hold loosely the things of earth.
PRAY: Ask God to help you fix your heart on heaven rather than all the things of this world.