An exposition of Ecclesiastes 2:12-26. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 1, 2010.
It seems to me it starts earlier and earlier. We start asking kids, at a young age, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s one of the fruits of living in a free and prosperous society. We condition kids early on to understand, “You can be anything you want to be.” In many parts of the world you won’t find kids dreaming of what they will be when they grow up – they just hope to live long enough to grow up! As a young person moves toward high school we expect them to have a plan. “What are your goals?” “What college are you plan to attend?” “What do you want to do with your life?” What is interesting is to see how things change. I love to go to high school homecoming and senior recognition and hear what the students’ plans are. “After graduating Susie plans to attend MIT with a double major in nuclear physics and medieval renaissance theology.” A couple of years later you learn Susie is taking some night courses through TCC and working at Wal-Mart. My point is youth is filled with optimism and hope and it should be! I bring it up because it is important to note Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes as a young man but rather as an old man looking back on a life of experience. When you ask a kid what he or she wants to be when they grow up – they do not answer, “I hope to be a bitter, disillusioned failure.” The goal, regardless of what path they may choose to follow, is to be happy, successful and live with meaning and purpose. That is why it is critically important for us to hear and heed the message of “the preacher.” Solomon’s years of empty experience taught him that experience is empty. Life under the sun is filled with bitter disappointment and is unsatisfying.
Life without regard for God or the things of God is an empty, vain thing.
While there are momentary joys, times of peace and contentment, they do not last.
Thus the preacher cries, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
He sought satisfaction through wisdom and found it empty.
He sought satisfaction through pleasure and found it was an illusion.
In the text we are going to explore this morning he reaches an end to the first section of his book.
Our text is found in the second half of the second chapter.
Text: Ecclesiastes 2:12-26
Keep in mind the preacher is “thinking out loud.”
He is bringing us along in a process.
He is walking us through his life experience and sharing what he’s learned.
I want to point out three things in this summary and then draw a final conclusion.
- Wisdom while advantageous cannot, in itself, secure lasting joy. (2:12-17)
- Wealth and professional success, while providing momentary peace, ultimately falls short of lasting joy. (2:18-23)
- Lasting joy only comes through the gracious work of God in the hearts of His people. (2:24-26)
Conclusion: Satisfaction is the gracious gift of God to His people.