A Misplaced Confidence

A scientist from Illinois, William Walsh, had in his laboratory, some strands of hair from the famous classical composer, Ludwig Von Beethoven. He has trying to ascertain the cause of Beethoven’s death in his experiments. And in his findings he found that Beethoven’s body had 100 times the normal amount of lead in it. He came to the shocking conclusion that Beethoven may have poisoned himself. Yet, that was never Beethoven’s intention. You see, Beethoven’s lead poisoning may have been due to the mineral spa that he went to for relaxation. The very thing he thought was bringing his relief and healing slowly poisoned him to death.

That’s what life is like for those who make wisdom, or self-indulgence, or toil their singular pursuit: they’re slowly poisoning themselves with the very things they are looking for hope and meaning in. Solomon had more wisdom and self-indulgence and possessions, and more to show for all of the work he either did or had done, and he comes to the conclusion that all is vanity … under the sun. So where do we turn? We’ve asked is there meaning in this life. We’ve looked for it in wisdom and the philosophers of the age; we’ve looked for it in self-indulgence and the entertainers and worldly goods; we’ve looked for it in our work and possessions, to no avail. Finding life’s meaning has thus far eluded us. Maybe we’re making it more complicated than it really is. Maybe it’s not what we’re doing as much as it is: Whom we are doing it for.

Solomon goes on to say this in Ecclesiastes 2:24-25: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment.” What it comes down is the most simplest of things: don’t try to find meaning in the pursuit of wisdom, self-indulgence, or anything else under the sun. Don’t amass all of those things for yourself, for some future use, for all of us will die and be forgotten. Rather, we are to find our satisfaction in God—end of v.25—and do what he created us to do: eat, drink, work, and glorify Him in the process.