Solomon taught us that life just isn’t fair! The righteous will often suffer at the hands of the wicked and the wicked will often prosper at the expense of the righteous. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race or bicycle rider 20 balance2for that matter. The wicked may cheat you out of your success. The wisest person doesn’t often receive the greatest reward. True wisdom and worldly ways often collide! With this in mind, Solomon gives us some sound advice in Ecclesiastes 7:16-18. He says, “So don’t try to be too righteous or too wise—why kill yourself? But don’t be too wicked or too foolish, either—why die before you have to? Avoid both extremes. If you have reverence for God, you will be successful anyway.”

In a national survey by a very reputable Christian statistician, in answer to the question, “What is the single, most important element for success?” 41 percent said faith, 25 percent said family but only 11 percent said a balanced life. I think Solomon is emphasizing the role of faith, reverence for God, in building a satisfactory life. In chapter six he told us that a life devoid of faith is a life that’s not worth living. Truly, a life lived totally “under the sun,” is a life in which you can’t get no satisfaction. Yet, when God is added to the equation we can live a satisfying life. Further, Solomon is teaching us that from the perspective of faith we can balance our lives in such a way as to live a healthy, happy, and wholesome life “under the sun” with all those around us; in the home, church, on the job, in our community, and in the world at large.

Trying to be too good will ruin your life. Being too evil will ruin your life. These two contrasting rules must be balanced. Smith says, “By accepting only one of these rules, harmful consequences will ensue. If one becomes overly righteous, i.e., he trusts in his own righteousness, his trust in divine providence may be undermined, especially in bad times. If he is overly wicked, he will bring upon himself the penalty of sin. He must cling to both principles.” Lives of faith will keep us balanced as we live with the tension between the two extremes. Reverence for God will keep a person from all excesses. The godly life is a balanced life