Meaningless Toil

Ecclesiastes 2:21

 21For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.  

King Solomon might have hard time discerning who among his many children would inherit the kingdom he built with wisdom from God. There was no smooth transition of transfer of kingship from King Solomon to his son Rehoboam. King Solomon died but did not appoint his successor. Rehoboam succeeded Solomon as king, and the kingdom of Israel was divided subsequently. Such turn of events practically exhibited why King Solomon teaches that everything he toiled under the sun is meaningless. He said in Ecclesiastes 2:18-20, 18I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.  19And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.  20So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.

In practical sense, to have more is far better than short of many things. To prepare for the future is a very prudent advice. To provide for children’s need is a noble task but it doesn’t have surety of how they will live their life. What parents can do is to provide guidance which path is better but should not dictate the way children decide for themselves. It teaches parents in Proverbs 22:6, 6Train children how to live the right way. Then even when they are old, they will still live that way.

King Solomon who wrote this insight taught his children, for sure. But Rehoboam who succeeded Solomon as king of Israel, rejected an elderly advice. He listened to the advice of young men who have grown up with him and the kingdom was divided as a result. That should be a reminder for us (adult or youth) to seek wisdom from God before making decisions.

Lord Jesus, give me wisdom to focus on meaningful toils.

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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