Well, friends, I am so excited for you all because today is blog post #2 in a three-part series on Ecclesiastes from my friend Mackenzie Ness, and I know you will love it and be so encouraged by her words. If you missed the first one, you can read through it here. This sweet girl, only 18 years old, is full of wisdom and has a heart that just about explodes for Jesus. Enjoy!
Whenever Solomon is mentioned in the Bible, the words “wisdom” and “wealth” often follow close behind. When he became king after David, God appeared to him in a dream and said “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Whenever I read this, I always think of God as this big, blue genie full of energy and singing songs while floating over Solomon’s bed (Thanks Disney). Solomon could have wished for anything, God did not say that anything was forbidden. Riches, women, power, abilities, a purple unicorn…but instead of asking for what the world would, he asked for wisdom. This wisdom in turn gave him everything that a man could desire.
With his gain in knowledge, he accumulated a large amount of wealth and is often referred to as the richest king in the Bible. He was well respected, loved, and admired by not just his kingdom but all those who knew of him. And like any mere man, he became engulfed by the pursuit of riches and the love of excess.
“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income, this also is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
I started working at my first job at the age of sixteen. I got hired at Barnes & Noble and was beyond excited to be surrounded by books, neat people, and to be able to pay for my coffee “addiction.” But at times, there was also this tension of not making enough money. I could, like everyone else, be making a whole lot more.
But when success is based on your economic status, you will never be satisfied. You will always want to do better, make more, or have a better job. The dream of being wealthy can never be quelled because it will never seem like enough.
Then the materials start to accumulate, clothes, gadgets, cars, houses, stock. But how will these possessions provide satisfaction in the long-term? We can’t take them to heaven with us. It can be difficult just to move them to a different city or state. Possessions are, as Solomon would say, meaningless.
“As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing from his toil that he may carry away in his hand” (5:15).
Have you ever seen the show on TLC called Hoarding: Buried Alive? It shares the stories of individuals overly consumed by “stuff,” junk that has memories attached, sometimes stemmed from laziness, other times ridiculous collectibles. I feel like God often sees us as these extremists, caught up in the worldly cycle of materialism. Most people, especially those in the U.S., have much more than they will ever need or use. And what we hoard on Earth will have no importance when we are dead and buried, or even five years down the line when that flat screen, smart T.V. that you just had to have no longer works and goes out of style. You can have everything, like Solomon, and live a life based on materialism, yet still be unhappy and overwhelmed by emptiness.
Wealth and materials equate to nothing. Relationships though, people, are important. God created us to be in community with others, to have friendships and dating relationships alike. Because when alone, this world is scary and intimidating. We were created to support, love, and help each other.
And often the possessions that we accumulate separate us from the deep relationships that we were designed to create. Our cellphones have become an extended limb, and we are preoccupied by what we own and showcase to the rest of the world. I would rather have friends by my side who I know will help me when my car breaks down or when someone else breaks my heart.
“Two are better than one…For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow” (4:9-10).
But the best, strongest relationships are those entwined with a relationship with God.
“A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (4:12b).
Life is about creating experiences, memories, and adventures, not to be consumed by this materialistic world. But to love God and love people.