For ages I've been hearing people talk about the TV show - Lost, but never watched it until this week. I've been off sick and had plenty of time to get into it.
If you've seen it, you'll know that it's the story of a bunch of people who survive a plane crash on a desert island. As time passes, they begin to give up hope of being seen and rescued and so they make preparations to live on the island for the foreseeable future. They face many struggles and it's a desperate time. Everyone's mind is focussed on survival. Everyone except for one guy, that is - Hurley.
Hurley is fed up of thinking only of survival. He wants to have some fun. He realises they're going to be on the island for a long time and he sees how stressed out everyone is. Then he sees something in one of the luggage cases that excites him and he gets to work... Later, he invites some of the others to come and see what he's done and when they follow him out of the thick forest and out on to a beautiful grassy hill, they see it - a golf course!
In the midst of a bleak situation, Hurley had seen the need to be able to enjoy something in it. 'Fun' was almost a dirty word. How can you think about having fun when people are struggling to survive? Isn't it selfish? But Hurley's line was, 'We need to have some fun rather than just waiting for the next thing to go wrong.'
What has this got to do with Ecclesiastes then? Well I think it's very relevant. Here are a bunch of people in an obviously difficult and horrible situation (the way Solomon is describing life in general). People are making decisions about what do to. Some are selfish, others are lazy, some are helpful, others independent. Everyone is struggling on in their own way but they have one thing in common - It's a struggle!
But Hurley becomes the exception because he realises something that Solomon had realised - That in the midst of hopelessness, we must be able to enjoy what we have! There is value in enjoying the best of what we have in the moment. Being thankful for it and having fun. Most people don't bother because they're too fixated on earning more or surviving and Solomon calls this 'a grievous evil' (v2). We need to learn from God that we should enjoy what he has given us now. It won't last forever and we can't take it with us when we die. While we're stuck on this desert island, we need to learn to start playing some golf!
For who knows what is good for people in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone? (v12)