Ecclesiastes 2 has Solomon continuing to look for meaning in life. He tested it in pleasure and amusement. “I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, what use is it?” He tested the theory many live under today; that the meaning of life is found in more and varied pleasures, entertainments, and excitement. He figures out that isn’t the answer. “But behold, this also was vanity”. Life isn’t about pleasure or doing what we want.
He moves on to try and find meaning through work and accomplishment. “I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards….I made myself gardens and parks….I made myself pools….I bought male and female slaves….I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me….I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces”. Solomon tried to find meaning and purpose through doing amazing and wonderful things. But it didn’t work.
Solomon was great above all others. “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me….whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil”. He had fame. He did what no one had ever done before. He was the object of admiration by the entire world around him. But it wasn’t the answer. Success does not produce meaning. “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun”. There was no enduring, eternal sense of meaning to life lived for these earthly pleasures and accomplishments. Work is not the source of meaning and purpose!
Solomon looked at life and death and believes there is no reason to worry about meaning. “For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten”. He doesn’t understand the potential of legacy. He only sees the immediate, not the potential. Solomon misses the point of passing down legacy. “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me”. God’s charge to us is to find faithful men who will carry forward the legacy. There is purpose and meaning for our life. God created us that way. We need to find it, and then live in a way we leave a legacy that carries that purpose to eternity!