Ecclesiastes 1:2; 12-14; 2:18-23 (NRSV):
1:2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
1:12-14 I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.
2:18-23 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me —and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.
With what parts of the Teacher’s despair do you most sympathize?
How do the Teacher’s words feel descriptive of your own experience?
What hope do you feel, having heard the Teacher’s words?
What facet of Ecclesiastes feels most timely to you this morning?