Ecclesiastes 2:18-26

Work has no purpose

18 I thought about all the hard work that I have done here on the earth. When I die, all the things that I worked so hard to get will belong to the next king. So I hated all my hard work. 19 The next king may be a wise man, or he may be a foolish man. Nobody knows! But all the things that I used my wisdom and hard work to get will belong to him. All this has no purpose. 20 So I was very upset when I thought about all my hard work on the earth. 21 Some people are very wise and clever. They use their knowledge to provide good things for themselves. But after they die, someone else will have all their things. Their good things will belong to someone who did not have to work to get them. This also has no purpose. It only brings trouble.

22 People have to do a lot of hard work on this earth and it causes them to worry. But in the end, they have nothing. 23 Every day, their work causes their bodies to suffer. At night, their minds do not have any rest. All this has no purpose.

24 So I decided what is best for us to do. We should be happy to eat and to drink. And we should enjoy our work. I realized that all these things are gifts from God. 25 Without God's help, nobody can eat anything or enjoy anything. 26 God gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to people who please him. Wicked people may work hard and become rich. But God takes away their valuable things and he gives them to someone who pleases him. So their hard work has no purpose. It is like somebody who tries to catch the wind.