Ecclesiastes 2:22—”What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.”
Every morning we, or someone in our house, goes out to work literally or figuratively. This work was meant to put food on the table and for our basics ‘from all the toil’, as God intended for us after Adam’s sin. But later, we took it upon ourselves to go one step further in our toiling. Reasons for this: increase in our vanity and being vexed about others’ sniggering and mirth. Also, increase in our sensual pleasures, riches, and pomp.
Answer this – Is our human wisdom sufficient to achieve our needs and the ego in our life? God gave us everything that we need according to our purpose, in His will. We were meant to use the things of this world according to the will of God.
However, our life turned away from God’s will because of the things of the world. Our vanity, our ego, our worldly knowledge and so on, made us toil harder to achieve more in the world. This continuous striving after the wind to ‘achieve’ introduced a hatred to our life. In addition to toiling and using our wisdom we also felt that our successors were not as good and hardworking as us and yet would take over as master of all. Enter judgment into our life to add to the existing – vanity! (Judgement+vanity) Then follows the feeling of despair – sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. (Vanity+Judgement+despair)
What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? There is nothing better for a person than to eat, drink and find enjoyment from his toil. But, this also is from the hand of God. God gives, the one who pleases Him, wisdom and knowledge and the most important thing: joy. The sinner also gets from God – the business to gather and collect but to give to the one who pleases God. Solomon asked God only for wisdom and His wisdom remained with him; it was a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. It was God-given and remained a blessing. On the contrary, if we strive for earthly pleasures that are unconnected with better blessings, earthly joy leaves our mind as eager and unsatisfied as before.
Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can have eternal blessings. We must enjoy our labor; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business, which is itself a gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to us, depending on whether we make good use of them. If we please Him, the Lord gives us joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of Him. We must seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, as it is the only way to true joy and satisfaction especially in this present world.