Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

Work has no purpose

17 So I was not happy with my life. And my work on the earth does not make me happy now. All of my work was worth nothing. It was like somebody who tries to catch the wind. 18 I will die in the end. Then some other person will enjoy the things that I have made. 19 That person may be a wise man, or he may be a fool. But he will receive all the things that I have worked for. This, too, is not good. My hard work means nothing. 20 So I became sad about all my work on the earth. 21 A man may know how to do his job well. He may do his work well and after that, he dies. Then all that he had will become another man's things. And that man will not have worked for it. This too means nothing and it is very sad. 22 People have to do a lot of work on this earth. But they get nothing that they can keep. 23 Every day, their work disappoints them and it makes them sad. Even at night, their minds do not rest. All their work means nothing.

2:23The Teacher was very rich, but that did not make him happy. If nobody lives again after death, a wise man and a fool are the same. It is not better to be a wise man than it is to be a fool.

24 We should eat and we should drink. And we should enjoy our work. There is nothing better that we can do than those things. I believe that these are gifts from God. 25 Without God's help, nobody can have enough food to eat. And nobody can be happy. 26 If we obey God, he will help us. He will make us wise. He will make us clever. And he will help us to enjoy our life. But if we do not obey God, our lives will be difficult. He will give what is ours to another person. This, too, is not good. It is like somebody who tries to catch the wind.

2:26The Teacher wants us to enjoy the good things that God gives to us. So he wants us to believe what God says. In verse 26 the Teacher tells us about the two ways for us to live. The best thing that we can say is, ‘Ask God for his help. Then do what he says.’