8/29 Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

This book of wisdom is attributed to Solomon. His main theme is that though he was able to pursue every possible course of pleasure, and found every one was vanity. Several times he tells us that it is the simple pleasures that are a gift from God for everyone (Ecclesiastes 3:13,22; 5:18; 8:15). He calls the other pursuits "chasing after the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:17; 4:4; 6:9). To be satisfied in the simple pleasures of life, as well as being grateful for them, are a gifts from God.

Whatever our calling or occupation, we can find enjoyment in our toil, or we can dwell on disappointments and other longings. Coveting what other people have or do is the sure path to depression. Solomon had the wealth to try anything and everything, but he kept coming back to the same conclusion. Enjoy your work, your food, and the goodness of God.

I have had the opportunity to spend time in rural areas that still practiced an agrarian lifestyle. One thing perplexed me. These simple people who labor from sun up to sundown had such big smiles on their faces. What were they so joyful about? They had learned to find enjoyment in their toil, food, and drink. They saw them as a gift from God. They enjoyed the interactions with their neighbors and helping one another in times of need. They enjoyed the winter season of rest and the company of neighbors and family. Perhaps the high rate of depression in advanced societies comes from forgetting these simple pleasures are gifts from God.

Consider: Whatever your occupation or calling, focus on the joys in it and the provision of your food and drink. Recognize it as a gift from the hand of God. And when your heart begins to wander, remember Solomon already tried it. Don't chase the wind.