Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1 & Ephesians 2  “2 ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.”’ 3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?”  … “3 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”

Observation: Was Solomon having a “down day?” His unparalleled, God-given wisdom would suggest otherwise.  No, Solomon himself even indicates that he had methodically studied the things in which man attempts to find peace and happiness – Pleasures, Projects & Achievements, Wisdom & Knowledge, Toil & Labor.  What did he find?  “It’s all meaningless!” Nothing can produce lasting contentment – that is, nothing on earth.  Solomon, hints at the answer to his quest as soon as he starts to write.  In (1:4) he states, “Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.”  In other words, God’s creation – and therefore God – outlasts man.  We are but a tiny piece of God’s master plan.

Application: These 2 sections of Scripture are some of my favorites.  And here they appear together in the Life Journal reading plan!  Perhaps it’s not coincidence.  In fact, it seems to me that the best answer to Solomon’s ‘depression’ (his realization that neither his toil, nor the toil of any human, amounts to anything) is in fact the grace of God we see in Ephesians 2.  Truly, how can one find real meaning in life?  Is it something that can be searched after and built up?  No!  True meaning, purpose and contentment is a GIFT of God – not by works.  Otherwise, you and I would then say, “look what I did!”  And the Truth that Solomon learned, which he revealed to us, is that to attempt to fashion anything for self-glory is meaningless.  Solomon tried that and he knows it’s true.  In fact, each of us likely tries it every day – and we know it’s true too.  Only that which glorifies God will stand.  Only that which glorifies God has meaning.  Let us put our efforts there.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for showing me, through king Solomon, that the end of all self-directed labors is meaningless.  Lord, you know my desire to serve you, but you also know my desire for self-glorification.  Humble me Lord and help me to direct my labor onto those things which are according to your purpose and will bring you glory.  Amen.