Mar 30, 2018
Most of us think we know what makes life good. We have our own view of what is necessary to enjoy our days on this planet. For some of us, it’s the company of good friends. For others, it’s the pleasure of good food. Or the sense of accomplishment from a job well done. Or the thrill and excitement of a risk taken or a fear, overcome. There are some who never seem to find satisfaction in this life because they can’t ever get enough of whatever it is they think they need. So, they spend all their time pursuing and accruing, in the hopes of finding that magic amount that will bring them true satisfaction. Life can become a quest to find what is preferable and to avoid what is not. And in Ecclesiastes 7:1-14, Solomon is going to throw us a curve ball, surprising us with his assessment of what is really better in this life. He will take some fairly recognizable aspects of life and contrast them with one another, revealing that what we believe to be the better of two opposing alternatives is actually the one to be avoided. If given the choice between mourning or feasting, we would choose the latter over the former – hands down. But Solomon would say we made a mistake. There are few of us, if given the option, who would prefer to have a wise person point out our flaws, instead of having a fool sing our praises. It’s a no-brainer. But Solomon has learned that what we think will bring us joy and satisfaction is often the very thing that increases our sense of futility in life. Sometimes simpler is simply better. Birth may appear better than death, but there is more assurance of success at the end of life than at the beginning. Life begins with hope, but can end in disappointment. Yet death can reveal the proof of a life well-lived.