“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Solomon's Need of Want Ecclesiastes 2

Ecclesiastes 2

It is possible to never have "need of want". But is it possible to fill our "want of need"?

Solomon discourses on this truth in this chapter of Ecclesiastes. He realized that he had everything he could ever want. He would never "need of want" for: food, work, pleasures, folly, mirth, possessions, gems, etc... His physical body (senses) would never have need. He was set. He is trying to help us see that although being king or (having everything) may fill his cup of "want", it will not fill his cup of "need".

Want and needs are two different things. Solomon told us in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes that those who focus on the physical aspect of "the days of our lives" will never find contentment. Contentment cannot be found in a never ending cycle. We will always want for more. But here is Solomon the King and he has no need for want. Why then does he still need?

We are both spiritual and physical beings. We all have physical and spiritual needs. Until our spiritual needs are met (by giving and serving a higher purpose) it does not matter how many of our physical needs are met. We will still fill empty.
Spiritual needs are set up differently. Unlike the physical which must "take in" in order to be fulfilled, the spirit must "give out" in order to find fulfillment.

Words and Phrases

vs 1. mirth and pleasure ... Solomon's words taken out of context here can bring the wrong message. I don't believe he is saying that mirth and pleasure are wrong because they are vain. Later in the chapter we realize that he is saying that without God, they bring only vanity.
vs 2 laughter - laughter cleanses the soul. It is good medicine. But without God it is of no value.
Vs 3. what they should do under heaven - what do we do? What is that thing we do? Solomon apparently was a busy man because he is going to recount to us all of the things that he has done his whole life to keep busy. He says that without God, without the higher purpose it brings only vexations.

vs 4-6... He made many things. We too have many duties that keep us focused in this life. We too have many jobs that help us move forward and find a feeling of accomplishment. But how much is this accomplishment worth if we can't take it with us? If it is bound to this earthly world?
vs 7-9 - He collected many things of value and worth: servants, gemstones, land, etc. We too collect many things as we travel on our journey of life. We too carry with us many different items in our tote-bag. How important are they if they do not fill our spiritual needs.

v9 my wisdom remained with me - Solomon truly was wise. He knew that it wasn't about what you had, or what you did, or (what he is trying to help us see) what we don't have or what we don't get to do. It's about seeking wisdom and living in such a way as to be able to retain it.
vs 11 no profit under the sun. Here he is cataloging all that he has done, all that he has owned, and considering if he has real profit? His wisdom has brought him to a higher understanding. His wisdom has helped him to see that while all of these things help us as we pass our days "under heaven" they give no real profit. Why ? Because we can't take them with us.
vs 13 wisdom exceedeth folly - He compares wisdom to light and folly to darkness. Those who choose to be foolish with their time will walk in darkness, while those who seek wisdom will fine light.
vs 14 the event happeneth to them all - We are all subject to life experience. What determines how we will react to the experiences we have in life is weather we have cultivated wisdom or folly.
vs 15 Why was I more wise? a bit of self reflection here? Some self abasement as well. Solomon was a humble man.
Vs 16 how doeth the wise man? Solomon believes that the wise man who believes he is wise will die a fool not because he is wise but because the cycle of life will cause him to be forgotten. Then how has his wisdom profited him?
He is actually using a bit of Socrates philosophy here and using the question to lead him to an answer.
18 I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me - Wo.. this is profound. Solomon realized that no matter how hard he worked, no matter how hard he tried to be in control of his labors, his life, his "wisdom", he was not. It would be left to the cycle of humanity that would follow him. Left to their interpretation of him, left to their perspective. His vanity causes him great pain. He feels caught between his own wisdom of what he has figured out and what he is to do with it?

vs. 19-23 He's cycling down now. His thoughts are becoming deep and despairing. He saying that vanity comes from his realization that he is proud of his work and does not want another to overseer it.
vs 24.. make his soul enjoy good in his labor - from the hand of God. He's beginning to see that he does not need to be frustrated. He does not need to be vexed. He just needs to realize that when we let God in our lives.. we have no need.

For God giveth to a man that is goo in his sight wisdom, and knowledge and joy.
What else can we take with us when we pass on but wisdom, and knowledge and joy? Wisdom from our experience. Knowledge from our learning and experience and Joy from our relationships that allow us to give of ourselves.

When we live for a higher purpose we are able to have our needs met. We don't need to feel the frustration and depression that Solomon felt. We can learn lessons from his wisdom and know that our labors are not in vain when they are done through and for God.

As an example, consider the words that we are reading. Where did they come from? Solomon. Are his words lost on his vanity? Or are they spread to all the earth because of his wisdom?

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