I’ve always struggled to see what was the point of Ecclesiastes. Recently I was participating in a sunday-school class for veterans and the Lord led us to Ecclesiastes chapter nine verses 5-10– For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
I.Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy,
II. drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
III.Let thy garments be always white;
IV.and let thy head lack no ointment.
V.Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life,
VI.In thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
I’ve come to understand that, like all scripture, the thrust of Ecclesiastes is GRACE! Lighten up, it screams, what’s the big deal, what are you so uptight about? Money, power, education, people, popularity, health? You’re just going to die and rot and everyone will forget you, so lighten up! We used to have a question in counseling–“If you die on the way home will the world continue?” When I was uptight in school carrying an 18 credit hour load with working full-time driving bus, I’d study in the cemetery above Ann Arbour Michigan. It was quiet and I’d ask myself, “are these people tense? They probably had big tests and futures that hung in the balance but they seem quite peaceful now!”
So should we care about nothing? What should we focus on? Well the above verses say we should tear our minds away from: what we don’t have; who we can’t relate to; what we can’t do; and instead focus on what we do have; who is in our life; and what we can do. Makes sense to me! Then we should grab it with gusto enjoy our food and drink with gratitude; take care of our appearance with clean clothes and ointment; live joyfully with the people God has given to you; grab ahold of what there is to do and do it with all you might. All the days of your vanity for then you die and rot and everyone will forget!
Why add the die and rot stuff? Because we are so addicted to WORKS! We turn resting in GRACE into WORKS! We enjoy our food and drink and clothes and ointment and people and work and then start to “vex our spirits” with having to secure it and enjoy it intensely and do it perfectly. NO NO NO! You are just going to die rot and be forgotten by this world. Leave it all in God’s hand to remember and to reward and you move on to grab ahold of the next moment He gives you.
having food and raiment
let us be therewith content25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (So do enjoy food drink etc just don’t “take thought” or worry about it.)
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Do grab ahold of the NOW moment and do what you can with the evil thereof but then drop it and appreciate all the little ordinary good as it passes by.