It is Wednesday and I know it has been three weeks since we looked at Chapter 5 of Ecclesiastes. Today, we will look at Chapter 6. If you are following along or have just joined us, the first five parts are dated on Wednesdays from August 26-September 23.
Chapter 6 may look like a continuation from the wealth part of Chapter 5, but it really isn’t. The first two verses look at a new evil under the sun, not being able to enjoy the fruit of a man’s desires without God. I’ll give you a few examples.
First, if you live paycheck to paycheck you probably understand not enjoying the money from your work. You get a check on Friday and it’s already spent, as Huey Lewis & the News says in their 1982 smash, Workin’ For a Livin’. When you have debt, you don’t enjoy the present fruit of a past spending spree. The bills are due and the piper has come to collect.
Another example is the workaholics of the world. These people make great money, have great homes, the average three children or so, but are so busy with work that they never see the good parts of their life. Work, work, work may make a dull boy, but for sure it makes one that never enjoys the benefits of his work.
Verse 3 talks about a stillborn child having a better life (or non-life, as the case may be) than a man that has many children and long life. Verse 4 tells us that the stillborn comes without meaning, departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Verse 5 tells us that the stillborn has rest and in verse 6 is pointed that it will go to the same place as all that have life go.
Verse 7 points out something interesting, that for all of man’s effort, his appetite is never satisfied. Do you think that it is interesting that most people without God are never content no matter what they attain? The riches don’t fill the void, the company of many never fill the void, and even when a person thinks the void is filled by something, it never truly is.
Verses 8-9 continue on the theme of even with something, whatever it is, that it never covers the need and it too is meaningless.
Verses 10-11 give a new take. “Whatever exists has already been named, and what man is has been known; no man can contend with one who is stronger than he. The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” Everything has been done and its been done in so many ways that nothing should surprise us. I remember an episode of South Park called “The Simpsons Already Did It.” In this episode, Butters’ character of Captain Chaos is trying to find a way to cause trouble, but his sidekick tells him every time that “The Simpsons Did It.” It drives him crazy, but in the end, the characters say to us that we shouldn’t be upset over it, because it is a drive inside us that tries to do something new that causes us to honor (or dishonor) those that did it previously.
But when we try something, we often try to put our own spin on it to, as Paula Abdul said in American Idol for so long, we make it our own. Verse 11 gives us something to chew on though as sometimes we need to keep it simple rather than trying to raise something in a new way because the more pomp and circumstance we put into it can cheapen what we do. That scares me sometimes. There are times that I look back and think that I’ve told one (or more) too many stories to make a point and it brutalizes the point. We end up beating a the perverbial dead horse until it is no longer recognizable.
Verse 12 closes the point by stating that under the sun without God that really who can tell what is good or not. Solomon says, “…during the few and meaningless days, he passes through like a shadow?” It leaves us to think about something. How many days in our lives truly mean something? Our birthday, graduation, marriage, birth of children, getting a job, getting a promotion, retiring (hopefully), seeing our grandchildren, then death. Depending upon the person, there may be a few more days that have a special meaning, but how many of these days will we easily forget what we ate, what we did, where we went, just to name what most would consider the important stuff of the day?
God, thank you that every day is important to you and that you would be able to tell us how many grilled cheese sandwiches that we ate, even though I’m sure that’s not what will matter when we get to Heaven. You have planned every day just like every hair on our head and so many other things. Thank you for loving us so much that every day that we spend with you is special!
I love you guys!