I really like these few verses. Verse 24 says, “Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.” Sounds good to me! Eat, drink, and enjoy life while profiting from my labor.
“This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.” Is it true that God’s design for man was to enjoy life and find satisfaction in everything he does? Of course! In Genesis 1:26-28 God created man and told him to be fruitful and multiply and exercise dominion over the earth. Genesis 2:4-8 gives a more detailed description of man’s creation and implies that man has a responsibility to work and enjoy the fruit of his labor (literally).
So in a perfect world, man eats and drinks and works and enjoys life. But this concept is conditional. These things are only possible when God is glorified and given first priority in our lives. What happened when Adam and Eve took their eyes off God in Genesis 3:6-7? They sinned, and eating and drinking and enjoying the fruit of their labor was no longer as promising as it had been.
This consideration of Genesis 1-3 brings out the truth of Ecclesiastes 2:24-26. Life with sin is distressing and painful and work is not always enjoyable or profitable (Genesis 3:16-19). As Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.”
The man who does good and gives God preeminence in his life enjoys life to it’s fullest. But the sinner works and it profits him nothing. It is pure vanity, and once again, “grasping for the wind.”
To those who do good in His sight
God gives true joy in life.
But those who have no sense of right
Will live a life of strife.
You won’t have reason to be sad
When God is number one.
For God designed man to be glad
In all the work he’s done.