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Here is the Truth. Can you Handle it? Day 3

I undertook great projects…built houses…planted vineyards…made reservoirs…owned herds and flocks…amassed silver and gold…men and women singers, and a harem as well. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 
Ecc. 2:4-9

Lesson 2: Neither things nor people can bring lasting contentment.

Solomon was a guy that the average American can admire. Statistically, we are the hardest-working culture in the world. We are also a culture that prizes luxury, convenience and newness. I can only imagine the amazement of the people of Solomon’s day as the rugged terrain of their capital city and its environs was transformed into beauty and bounty, all accomplished by the prodigious intellect, (seemingly) limitless resources and unparalleled creative energy of King Solomon.

And Solomon was a man who wanted to make a positive difference in his world (2:3). He wanted to pursue the best use of his days, his life, his talents. 

Then, when the last brick had been laid and the last ribbon cut, Solomon realized that he had traded an important part of his life and vitality in the accumulation of his possessions and the accomplishment of his goals. It was then he analyzed—with wisdom—the trade-off: His conclusions are pretty harsh, but when a guy has had it all, done is all, seen it all, we can agree that he is worth a hearing.

1. Material possessions do not bring lasting satisfaction, but set us up to want more.

2. The more we have, the more we have to take care of and worry about.

3. The things we have spent our life accumulating will be left to others who may or may not appreciate them.

Here is Solomon’s conclusion. “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is a gift from God” (3:13).

The ultimate prize for our labor (and this is Solomon speaking) is not a bigger house or more zeroes in our bank account. It is the daily satisfaction that comes from enjoying “our daily bread,” cultivating a happy heart and doing good for others.

To be filled up with gratitude for what we have, to never compare it, either negatively or positively with the lives or possessions of others, to work hard each day and sleep peacefully each night, to see the riches of our life in terms of people, not things and to hold our possessions loosely: In our competitive, materialistic culture, that is a brave and wise calling.

Nancy Shirah

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