Reading: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Reflection: Nicky Gumbel once said, “What a pity to live your whole life and, in the end, find that you’ve missed the point.” Today’s reading resonates with that sentiment. The book of Ecclesiastes is traditionally believed to have been written by Solomon, the wise king of Israel, and many scholars still believe that the book contains many of his proverbs and reflections. Certainly, today’s reading echoes what we know of Solomon’s life. He had wealth beyond measure, wives and concubines in the hundreds, and a life filled with every pleasure he could imagine.

Yet, there’s a tragic feeling to Solomon’s life. In spite of his great wisdom, and all the good things he enjoyed, he largely lost his faith. He was drawn to experiment with the religions of his wives, and he neglected to follow the ways of God. And in the end, his family, and his kingdom suffered for it. After he died, his son acted with such disdain for God’s people, and with so little wisdom, that kingdom was torn in two. There are so many messages in our world today telling us that we can be rich and famous if we just focus on our own pleasure and potential. Yet, in the end, Solomon realized that this kind of personal aggrandizement is like chasing the wind. It’s only in the foolishness of God’s ways of love and service that we really find meaning and joy. Are there any places of “wind chasing” in your life at the moment? What can you do about that?

Practice for Today: The practice of simplicity – removing all that clutters our lives, be it “stuff” or unhelpful attitudes, or old grudges, or desires for things that complicate our lives and our world – is a liberating and healing one. So often when we get stressed the reason is because our lives have become cluttered. Today, identify any clutter in your life, and try to release it in favor of simplicity.

Prayer for Today: Teach me, O God, to live my life according to your simple wisdom.