Ecclesiastes is the writing of a wise man looking at life “under the sun,” this life short of eternity, and he alternates between despair, and making the best of it. “All are from the dust, and to dust all return” (Ecclesiastes 3:20), so “there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
On the side of making the best of it, he occasionally offers good advice, such as, don’t go it alone; “two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). After the Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA championship, retired UCLA coach John Wooden was asked how many championships he thought Kobe Bryant could win. “None,” said Wooden. “Kobe doesn’t win championships. The Lakers win championships.” And so it is with wisdom, “though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him–a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). We need others, we need teammates, we need friends, says the wise man.
Then he reminds us, everyone dies. The wise man of Ecclesiastes rains on parades; do not invite him to the party, but do not ignore his words. He aims to lift our heads above the clouds. As long as we live under the sun, life is ultimately futile, and he takes pains to point that out. Then he points upward, “for God is in heaven and you are on earth” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Life on earth is brief and not fair; and God is good and forever. He sees the way of the world, “a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God” (Ecclesiastes 8:12), so he reaches for the skies, and you should, too.
Father God, may I be heavenly-minded, my head above the clouds. May I think Your thoughts and see life through Your eyes, because that is the only I will be earthly-good. You created us for relationship, with each other and with You. Teach me to value and love people the way You do, to lift their heads up and point them to Your glory and Your goodness.
May I live each day with eternity in mind. My security, God, is in You; keep me from relying on things that simply do not last. Each day is a gift, I will open it and enjoy it and let everyone know Who gave it to me.