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Life In The Real World
"I hated all the things I had toiled for ... because I must leave them to the one who comes after me." (v. 18)
For reading & meditation:
When we face the fact that there is nothing in this world - no person, place or thing - that can meet the deepest ache in our soul is probably one of the most solemn moments of our existence. Many can't face that kind of reality so they escape into such things as fantasies, endless rounds of activity, drink, sensual pleasures. It is this quality - the ability to face reality - that endears Solomon to us. We don't have to guess what is going on inside him. He tells us - and in no uncertain terms. What is the next thing Solomon turned to in his frustration with life? Work; and work, especially creative work, can be very satisfying. Solomon is not knocking work, but he is saying that this is not where life is to be found. Clearly, Solomon had considered throwing himself into activity partly to establish something that could be left to his children. But as he contemplates the idea, he concludes: When you die, you have to leave it all to someone else (v. 18); you cannot be sure if he or she will look after it or ruin it (v. 19); you have no choice but to give it away as a gift to someone who has not worked for it (v. 21); and finally, what benefit does the one who has worked derive from it? (v. 22). Don't dismiss this as just despairing pessimism. Remember the purpose of Ecclesiastes - to show that true meaning is not found in the temporal but in the eternal. Here is a real person coming to some real conclusions about life in a real world.
O God my Father, day by day the conviction is quietly being borne in upon me - only in You am I equipped to face the realities of life. I am so grateful that I know the one true reality - whose other Name is Jesus. Amen.
Taken from 'Every Day Light' devotional, by Selwyn Hughes. © 1999 and is used by permission. All rights reserved.
Hughes, Selwyn. "Devotional for March 08". "Every Day Light". <http://classic.studylight.org/devos/edl/index.cgi?FirstSelectMonth=&FirstSelectDay=>. 1999.