Wednesday, September 2, 2015
the height of wisdom
It took me some serious thinking to figure out what Solomon was missing in today's reading. It wasn't easy. He's a smart guy. But I figured it out ;)
If you read through everything that Solomon tries, it's all pretty selfish. He tries EVERYTHING... but only for himself. He has pleasure, and wisdom, and work, and property... wealth beyond belief. He has accomplished the American Dream, and then some. And he gives us some good advice - when you get to the top, it feels empty. Getting all that stuff... all that sex, all that money, all that power... he has it all, and tells us it's empty - a chasing after the wind.
He does give us more good advice... there is deep meaning and satisfaction in work. Finding something that you can do, and applying yourself brings fulfillment.
But the thing that's lacking is loving and helping others. Now, I'm not trying to pretend that I'm smarter than Solomon. His wisdom is a thousand times greater than mine. But I have an advantage that he lacked... I have the teachings of Jesus, who was perhaps the only person who ever lived who was wiser than Solomon.
And Jesus tells us something that is so simple and yet so profound. When we turn our desires on their head, and give UP the things that we think will make us happy in order to make someone ELSE happy... that somehow makes us even happier. Giving of ourselves for others takes away that emptiness and fills our meaningless lives with meaning.
Thank You, God, for giving us what our lives are desperately looking for.