Hey Guys! This is a recap of the February 6th Coffee Connection: Understanding Our Gift of Wisdom & Pursuit of Labor. Our focus study for February 2012 is centered around the book of Ecclesiastes which sets a wonderful outlook on our approach to labour and spirituality. Today we discussed Ecclesiastes chapter 1. In the devotion, Kaye discusses our human pursuit of wisdom, defines our approach to labour, and poses a few challenge questions to us. For this week, let’s focus on verses 9, 11, 13, 17 & 18. Take a peek:
In Chapter 1, the writer (King Solomon) makes a bold statement about our approach to labour and challenges our quest for wisdom. One of his running questions is:
Why do we work towards achieving greatness?
Let’s direct our attention to verse 9. He notes that “there is no new thing under the sun.” So if what we work so hard towards will be forgotten after our death, what is the point of it all? In verse 13, he recognizes that our quest for wisdom has been given to us by God; however, he begins to sound a bit contradictory by calling this wisdom from God “sore travail.” In this sense, he means – affliction. How so? Although God has given us the desire to obtain knowledge and the wisdom to obtain great accomplishments, our focus must not be solely on the results of our labor or the pleasures of this life (vs 8), otherwise it is but a striving after the wind – a waste of our time “under the sun.” What King Solomon is saying is that being afflicted with “sore travail” of attaining wisdom and having Godly wisdom cannot coexist. In our finite minds, the way in which we pursue labor is vanity and is meaningless.
Let’s explore this concept a little more in verse 2 where the phrase “vanity of vanities” is repeated.
- vanity (noun) \’vanƏtē\ – Excessive pride in oneself, especially in appearance; futility
- vanity of vanities | hebel (noun) \heh’bel (Hebrew)\ – vapor, breath, delusion, emptily, emptiness, fleeting, fraud, futile, futility, idols, mere breath, nothing, useless, vain, vainly, vanity, vanity of vanities, worthless
The Conclusion? We must realize that our human quest for knowledge is nothing but toil – a striving after the wind (vs 17). The pursuit of human wisdom is an extremity and is the pinnacle of vanity – it is the worst type! Why? Because we have not incorporated God into it! Verse 18 lets us know that the way we as human, finite beings seek knowledge will only bring forth grief and sorrow. One of the biggest things we must ask ourselves as we pursue knowledge and give ourselves to our passions is:
Q: In our quest for knowledge & wisdom, are we seeking the wisdom and knowledge of God?
Q: Why do we seek after wisdom and accomplishments?
Q: Is our heart settled in what we achieve; has what you achieved left a lasting, Godly impression?
We must replace our human, finite wisdom with Godly wisdom in order to open the doors for a Godly foundation. As you pursue your goals this week, month, year…give them to God, and let Him add the overflow to your life.
As you approach your passions, workweek, personal life…incorporate Godly wisdom in everything you do! This will open the doors for happiness and overflow of God’s blessings!