If King Solomon wondered about something, we should too!
If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you know I am a big fan of King Solomon. I’m not unaware of his weaknesses; I am just a huge fan of his wisdom.
King Solomon asked, “What gain has the worker from his toil?” (Ecclesiastes 3:9). Solomon wrote those words at the end of his life. Most people who have studied his life would probably wonder why he, of all people, would write those words! One article estimates that King Solomon would have a net worth today of $2.2 trillion!
Again, why would he write “What gain has the worker from his toil?”
BUSY WITH BUSINESS
King Solomon answers his own question by saying, “I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with” (v. 10).
The best way to understand King Solomon’s words is to interpret them for the era in which he lived. I’ve often said, “I was born at the right time.” I earn a living with my computer. I fill my refrigerator by making a trip to the grocery store. If it gets dark, I flip a switch. If the clothes are dirty, I push a few buttons. If I want a cup of coffee, I reach for a coffee pod. I could keep going, but you understand my point.
God’s children have always been busy, but we aren’t as busy today as we think we are! After the fall, God told Adam, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Adam and Eve had enjoyed the garden because, bluntly, they had it so good. Don’t you know there were days after the fall when they turned to God and said, “It was just one bite, Lord!”
One of the results of the fall is that we will always be busy. Even with all the luxuries today, that is still true. Solomon said, “I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.” We will always be busy with business.
Was that God’s judgment—or his provision?
GOD’S PLANS ARE BEAUTIFUL
Solomon’s next statement in Ecclesiastes is one of my favorites. He wrote, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
All of us spend our lives working until we find we can’t work any longer. We get tired and we get tired of our work. Then we often miss the work, along with other things, when we get older. We are funny creatures, and God is good to put up with us!
But then, God understands because he made it to be this way for a good reason. After God judged Adam and Eve, he caused us to work, to age, and to need rest. He had a good reason. Solomon’s wisdom provides a perfect perspective on the nature of our lives. This whole process of life is God making everything beautiful in its time.
I’m going to try to remember that as I age. QVC was selling a potion that makes you look ten years younger and I told Jim, “If that comes in vats, I’m buying it.” What does aging have to do with this verse?
God caused it, God made it, and God made it beautiful.
Because, at the same time, God also “put eternity into man’s heart.” God planned our lives so that, as we age, we can rest from our busyness with business and more often consider the things of eternity.
IT’S ABOUT JOY
King Solomon wrote, “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man” (Ecclesiastes 3:12–13).
God made us to work and made us to be busy with the things of life. Our work is what earns us the ability to enjoy things we have worked for. I would love to hand some of our political leaders the wisdom of Solomon. The most important thing we can do for the self-esteem and for the souls of our citizens is enable them to work. Everyone deserves the chance to know the joy God wants them to have. It was his gift, and we should be careful to help people receive that.
WHAT GOD DOES ENDURES FOREVER
I love my work. I’ve just finished writing the Bible study for next year from the book of Romans. Many have asked if I plan to continue to do the video format. The answer is yes. Stay tuned and we will tell you how to download the study later this summer. I will also teach in person and continue to write this blog post, among other things.
I love working with and teaching God’s word. I’ve spent some time during the past year listening to historical sermons from people like Charles Spurgeon. His messages are amazing! I’ve discovered a website that makes old sermons downloadable. (My podcast of choice!)
King Solomon said, “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14–15). The sermons I’ve been reading and listening to are just as remarkable today as they were when they were preached to congregations.
“Whatever God does endures forever.”
RESTORATION IS WORTHY WORK AS WELL
As you might have read, I’m a big fan of home restoration shows. I love watching older, out-of-date homes become cleaned up and ready for a new family. That said, I also love that the people who lived in the home before it was all fixed up still called it home.
I’ve often told Jim that I cringe sometimes when the young people complain about the old carpet, parquet floors, and clamshell sinks. (That was a hint about my décor!) But, I’ve also learned that brass fixtures are coming back in style. If we live in this house for another decade, we could become officially “retro” instead of just “old!”
But, keeping up a home is a lot like keeping up our lives. Everything needs restoration once in a while.
I love my work and am grateful for this job. I stand in full agreement with King Solomon. My work gives me joy because my subject is God’s eternal word. But, my business is busy. That has been especially true this past year. Our ministry didn’t slow down during 2020. In fact, it grew a lot!
That is a huge blessing, and we are grateful to all of you who have helped that happen. But, last year Jim and I celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary with a takeout steak dinner in Styrofoam boxes! (I did light a candle, but that was about all I could do to fancy up our COVID anniversary.)
Now, we are fully vaccinated and, for the first time in a long time, we are packing our bags! It’s time for our much-delayed anniversary trip. I’m leaving my computer behind, and I’m headed for sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. Because restoring our souls is worthy work as well!
The Brand Manager for janetdenison.org, Trace Kennedy, will be writing this blog post for me for the next couple of weeks. I will be soaking up warm air and sandy beaches and reaping the joy of hard work and God’s blessings in our lives. I’ll come back to my parquet floors and clamshell sinks, and they will look good to me because I’m home.
I hope all of you are planning that first, post-COVID break as well. We all need the restoration that God can provide. Thank you Trace for helping me to travel with joy.
And to all my readers, I’ll be back to work in a couple of weeks. Until then, “Aloha!”
Yep . . . sunsets, beaches, fresh pineapple, and joy! (At least we made it before we hit our forty-first anniversary!)
Blessings to all of you . . .