“I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind.
And I hated everything I’d accomplished and accumulated on this earth. I can’t take it with me—no, I have to leave it to whoever comes after me. Whether they’re worthy or worthless—and who’s to tell?—they’ll take over the earthly results of my intense thinking and hard work. Smoke.
That’s when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth. What’s the point of working your fingers to the bone if you hand over what you worked for to someone who never lifted a finger for it? Smoke, that’s what it is. A bad business from start to finish. So what do you get from a life of hard labor? Pain and grief from dawn to dusk. Never a decent night’s rest. Nothing but smoke” Ecclesiastes 2:17-23 (The Message)
Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. There is something really saddening and bitter about his perspective. You can hear this wise, wealthy man searching for the meaning of life.
How did this happen?
How did this man that did so much for God end up like this? He wrote Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. He built the temple. He had wisdom that astonished a generation and wealth that surpassed that.
As I studied Solomon’s life today, I saw a man that had no real connection to the presence of God. Yes, he did a lot for God. He knew a lot about God. But he wasn’t connected to the heart of God. The evidence of a man immersed in the presence was lacking in his life. As I read, I was arrested by the sense I have lived portions of this story out in my own life. Have you ever asked yourself, “What’s it all for?” I sure have. I have been in some of the most fulfilling weeks of ministry and have asked myself that question. I’ve also been in some of the hardest weeks I’ve ever experienced in ministry and asked myself the same question.
What Is It All For?
David was Solomon’s dad. In 1 Kings 2:3-4 David’s words of wisdom to his son weren’t to just “obey God” – He told him to walk with God. He told him to not only seek after obedience, just merely learning the right things to do and then doing it like a robot. But rather, he told Solomon to seek His presence, seek His heart, to seek connection with the Lord. David had a heart for God, an intimate connection to the Father. David was the standard by which all other kings were measured. Even with all of David’s flaws, he knew how to keep the main thing, the main thing. I can see why David was so intentional on imparting this to his son.
I can identify with both David and Solomon. I identify with David because I know that place of being connected to the Father, that place of security and endless hope. In that place, I don’t have to be reminded of the vision or why I’m doing what I’m doing, I don’t have to be reminded of the main thing. In the presence, everything is made clearer and if I stay connected to His heart, I have no doubts or hesitations of what He’s called me to do. On the other hand, I can identify with Solomon because I’ve been in those seasons with the Lord where I felt as though my connection to Him was distant. I have described it to feel like an “intellectual relationship”. Those times when I’m not seeking the presence as much as I’m seeking answers, or a message, or biblical understanding. Without fail, when I find myself in this place, my thoughts and words are confused about the future and lacking hope for the present.
Pursuing truth should never be in exchange of an intimate connection with Father God, truth flows out of connection.
I heard Kris Vallotton say “vision gives pain a purpose” meaning, I can go through whatever trial, disappointment or setback because I know what is ultimately at stake. In other words, I can put up with pain in the present moment because I can see the purpose beyond the here and now. What if I told you that God’s one desire, His one vision, the main thing for your life was for you to be intimately connected to Him? That your life should be more familiar with His presence than any other thing. And, if that connection isn’t there, no matter what comes your way, your life will be off-kilter.
I see Solomon’s life, the wisest, wealthiest man – and at the end of his life he doesn’t see what it was all for. What a tragedy.
I’m sensing we’re in a season of invitation to His presence like never before.
I so feel the Father’s heart pulling us into a place of deeper connection with Him. There is too much ahead of you, don’t give up because it may be hard right now. Instead, sink lower into His arms of embrace and listen for His heart. What is it all for? It’s for connection that only comes in His presence.