Solomon had it all (according to the world’s standards anyway): wealth, influence, status, looks, intellect and power. If ever there were a Biblical poster boy for “The Good Life,” Solomon was it!
As such, the book of Ecclesiastes is a reflective journey through Solomon’s life as he recollects his life experiences and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
But the book of Ecclesiastes is also an invitation for us to understand and see the importance of pursuing the present life, the slow life, the now life — a life not conflicted by the past nor worried about the future, a life not racing through the day like a chicken with its head chopped off nor withering away at a dead standstill, but a life wholly devoted to what God is doing in the here and now.
And when you consider who Solomon was and the glamorous life he lived, it puts everything we feel pressured to pursue into proper perspective. To hear even him describe this kind of life as “meaningless” sheds a lot of light and wisdom for our own lives and on our culture today.
“I took another walk around the neighbourhood and realized that on this earth as it is — the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor satisfaction to the wise, nor riches to the smart, nor grace to the learned. Sooner or later bad luck hits us all. —Ecclesiastes 9:11 (MSG)
Solomon is reminding us to view everything we have (whether much or little) with the right perspective, to hold our lives loosely, to live with gratitude, humility and right motivation while rejoicing with contentment amidst our day-to-day moments. He’s reminding us to be present; to accept and delight, to be mindfully aware, and to remember that not everything we’re racing after is what we’ll reach, where we’ll end up, or what we’re meant to have anyway.
We humans are always looking for ways to be more, do more, do better and be better. We’re always complicating what’s simple and choosing to double down on what’s futile and fleeting. All God wants from us is to see Him, to give our full attention to Him and what He’s doing, and to deeply understand who He is and what He desires to do in us and through us.
It’s our tendency to go off on our own in an attempt to make something more of ourselves, our lives and our moments, but Solomon reminds us:
“The best you can do with your life is have a good time and get by the best you can. The way I see it, that’s it — divine fate. Whether we feast or fast, it’s up to God (Ecclesiastes 2:24). I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear. Whatever was, is. Whatever will be, is. That’s how it always is with God.” —Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 (MSG)
So it boils down to this message for today, the here and now:
Solomon is reminding us to be happy in the moment. That’s it. That’s enough.