Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation) – So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.
King Solomon gave us the book of Proverbs and the book of Ecclesiastes. While Proverbs is full of wisdom for success in work and relationships written in a warm and enthusiastic style, Ecclesiastes on the other hand seems cold, a bit harsh and dismissive, of the value of strong desires to do or achieve things.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon counsels readers, and especially super-ambitious people, that all our efforts are ‘vanity’ or ‘meaningless’ (as used in some Bible translations) ‘under the sun’ – meaning in the long span of time and history of the earth.
Proverbs inspires strong focus on work, strategic thinking, and very careful planning, Ecclesiastes inspires thinking about what is the most meaningful (the opposite of vanity or meaningless) thing to do while on earth. Thus Solomon encourages us to enjoy the simple things like food and drink and laughter.
Solomon’s answer to what is the most meaningful thing to do while on earth, his capstone message out of the fullness of his wisdom, are his very last words in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
As we enjoy our work, our relationships, our money, our travels and adventures, our food and drink, let’s not forget that the most meaningful thing is our relationship with Yahweh. This is the only thing that is not ‘under the sun’, its the only investment that yields a good return when our time on earth is over.
Lord, help us to have and enjoy our daily portion of food and drink, but most importantly teach us to know you for real, Amen!