Solomon’s Third Test – Accomplishment

In Solomon’s third attempt to discover meaning in life, he turns from his previous experiment – the pursuit of pleasure – to something we would consider more noble – the accomplishment of great projects.  Surely this is a more honorable and unselfish endeavor!

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.  I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.  I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.  I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.  I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man.  I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;  I refused my heart no pleasure.  My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.  Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.Ecclesiastes 2:4-11

This pursuit, like the two before it (wisdom and pleasure) is also a popular, modern method for those seeking satisfaction.  Countless hours are spent by Dad (and sometimes Mom) at work, evenings are devoted to community projects, and the whirlwind lifestyle we lead in pursuing sports, dance, music, art and other enrichment programs all lead us to believe that we are doing big things.  Sometimes, these things are right and good.  But according to Solomon, when we get to the point where we look back on what we have done and expect to see and feel eternal fulfillment – well, we will be disappointed.  Because the accomplishment of great projects – like wisdom and pleasure – is “meaningless” in comparison with…something else.


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