Solomon begins to explain his search for meaning in chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes. He begins by talking about wisdom. He though if he just learned enough, understood the world enough; it would be enough to make his life 08 coffee spoons2meaningful. But that didn’t work. He says in Ecclesiastes 1:18, “I found out that I may as well be chasing the wind. The wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know, the more it hurts.” God had once offered Solomon riches, pleasure and glory, but instead he asked for wisdom. God was pleased with his request and granted him wisdom. There is little disagreement that Solomon, even today, is regarded as the wisest man who ever lived. He knew that if he were to succeed as King over Israel he would need wisdom. God blessed him with it.

Reading through the book of proverbs you find true wisdom on how to live a perfectly balanced life. It deals with lust, gluttony, greed, anger, and a plethora of other relationships issues of life. It teaches us how to manage finances, how to deal with credit, how to manage our households to glean the absolute best from each dimension of our lives. It’s truly a book of wisdom. Wisdom is more than knowledge. It’s the application of knowledge to our lives. It’s instructions on how to live a discipline and controlled life. No one did it better than Solomon did, but when it was all said and done, this wise living left him empty! The more he learned the less satisfied he became. The more he learned the more struggles he had in life. He got tired of living the “ought to” and the “have to” and really “should” do kind of a life. It left him empty. It brought no satisfaction.

I see this frustration in T. S. Elliot’s character, J. Alfred Proofrock. This character spent his whole life balancing his finances, keeping his emotions in check, never taking a chance or entering into potential situations that might lead to failure. He was a “proof rock.” He kept a perfect daily schedule. He was a responsible, contributing citizen. He never ate too much. He had absolutely no indulgences of any kind. Yet at the end of his life he looked back and with remorse and exasperation at the wisdom and discipline he’d practiced, much like Solomon, and knew that every joyless, disciplined that lay ahead of him would look exactly the same. The days held no promise, no hope, for him. He sighed, “I’ve know them all before. I’ve known the mornings and the evenings and the afternoons. I’ve measured out my life in coffee spoons.” He was never willing to take a chance! He was never willing to see beyond the life he was living “under the sun.” He is just like the religious leaders that Jesus encountered. They thought fulfillment would be theirs if they just kept the law. But Jesus said, “you search the law (scriptures) because you think in them you will find eternal (a meaningful) life. But it’s these very scriptures that speak of me.” In John 10:10, Jesus said “I have come that you might experience life, and life in all its fullness.”