Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion (Ecclesiastes 3:22).
So often we find ourselves working like slaves to the master of material possessions. What we think we need to live the better life many times can only be achieved by paying a heavy price in time and effort. And what good is a big house and a big car if we cannot spare the time to enjoy it or if we neglect more important matters? This also is vanity and vexation of spirit (2:26).
Solomon points out the seeming emptiness of life and the unexplainable paradoxes that characterize the lives of rich and poor, good and bad. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all (9:11). Solomon makes us take a hard look at the realities of life. In his wisdom, he knew that in mans limited understanding, life does seem meaningless. However, he gives us perspectives that are necessary to live every day as a gift from God. Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? (7:16). In other words, the pursuit of riches and things is a life that exaggerates a superficial outward appearance.
The pursuits of our lives should be balanced, seeking what we need. Our only exaggeration should be the effort we give to that which God has given us to do, while at the same time enjoying the strength He gives us. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest (9:10). And then, Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man (12:13). PCM