All this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate one does not know. Everything that confronts them 2 is vanity, since the same fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to those who sacrifice and those who do not sacrifice. As are the good, so are the sinners; those who swear are like those who shun an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that happens under the sun, that the same fate comes to everyone. Moreover, the hearts of all are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no more reward, and even the memory of them is lost. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished; never again will they have any share in all that happens under the sun.
7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. 8 Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.
We have to take life as it comes to us. Sometimes, life is good; other times, life is bad. Whether a person is good or bad, we aren’t judged here on earth. We often feel as if nothing is going right in our lives. One negative thing after another happens. I personally get depressed and often I cannot see the positives that are in amongst the negatives. Life seems too burdensome and happiness too elusive. But the truth is, everyone has their own problems. We have to look on the bright side of life.
Life is sometimes challenging; sometimes frustrating. But wisdom lies in giving our troubles to God. He can and will help. Adversity and hardships are an inevitable part of your life. God knows this and we know that we cannot escape them. So take everything that comes your way with patience and dignity. Never give in to misery, but instead pray to God. Do not take your life so seriously as to miss your happiness. Happiness is always around us. We just need to trust in God to show us that happiness.
Happiness is a feeling of sheer joy; the state of contentment. We all have our own perception of happiness. For some, it is material things that we think makes us happy. Everlasting happiness does not have anything to do with material possessions. Real happiness does not lie in big achievements. It lies in small things that touch your heart.
Happiness can neither be demanded nor earned. It is a conscious choice that we make. We create our own happiness when we commit ourself to live a meaningful life doing things that we want to do. Our attitude determines how happy we will be. If we take everything was it comes with a smile and accept the good and bad of life, we will derive happiness in whatever you do.
Take life as it comes. Learn to enjoy the finer moments in life. Be willing to accept the intricacies with grace and consider them an opportunity to prove your worth. If you succeed in winning, you will rejoice; if you fail, you will be happy at least you dared to try. This will improve your self-confidence and boost your self-esteem. Also, you will end up getting richer and wiser in experience.
One reason I chose this passage for today is because today is May 1 and May is Masturbation Month. A lot of religions believe that masturbation is a sin, so I asked a minister friend of mine what he thought about what people called onanism. To refresh you memory, Onan is a minor biblical person in the Book of Genesis chapter 38, who was the second son of Judah. Like his older brother, Er, Onan was killed by God. Onan’s death was retribution for being “evil in the sight of the Lord” through being unwilling to father a child by his widowed sister-in-law. He accomplished this with coitus interruptus, or finishing sex with masturbation. In other words, he spilled his seed on the ground and was struck down by God.
Early Christian writers have sometimes focused on the spilling seed, and the sexual act being used for non-procreational purposes. Since masturbation is one way to accomplish a sexual act with no procreational purpose, then it was considered a sin. Anyway, when I asked my minister friend about this, he quoted to me, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might” Of course, he was making a joke, but Onan was punished for the sin of disobedience to God, not masturbation. So as you celebrate Masturbation Month, remember, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might.” Have a wonderful month of celebration.
I had originally planned for this post to be about masturbation and how we are taught to be ashamed of it, when in actuality, it is a natural process of life. While women may masturbate less than men, masturbation does have many health benefits to men. It keeps our prostates healthy among other benefits. While that had been the plan of this post, I looked closer at the words surrounding Ecclesiastes 9:10 and realized that there is a greater message there about happiness. I know there are many people like me who suffer from depression and that happiness is often hard to find, but God will help us find our happiness if we just let Him.