“What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. .To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:3-8).
If we are to understand the importance of spirituality and life after death, we have to understand that the things we do on earth are meaningless. That isn’t to say that helping people or taking care of yourself is a meaningless effort. But it shouldn’t be our most important goal in life. In this passage, this message is explored.
Our work may bring us some happiness and money, but as the passage shows, everything on earth remains on earth. We do not keep the things that we receive on earth. Our wealth and our success are temporary belongings. Just as the sun rises and sets and the streams come and go, so do our material belongings. In addition, the things we have don’t fully satisfy us. “The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8). We are never truly satisfied by the things we have. Our bodies are made to continuously want things. Even if we accomplish our goals in life, like work, money, or love, we will still have the desire to want something in our lives. In a way, it’s tiresome to never get to a point in our lives that we are truly satisfied.
So if the things we work for are temporary and cannot satisfy us, why should we value them over our spiritual wellbeing? Why should we worry about material things all of our lives and neglect gaining spiritual wisdom? The passage suggest that we shouldn’t. Working, money, food, and all other things that appeal to our senses are a part of life and should be a focus. But what the passage tells us is that it shouldn’t be the only thing we focus on. Our focus should be on something that lasts forever. Our focus should be on something that we have even when we leave this earth-our spirit.