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The Pursuit of Happiness: A Businessman’s Walk Through Ecclesiastes

Week 2: Ecclesiastes 1:3-4 & 9-11

3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.

The words of the Preacher yet again confront us with a very challenging and inconvenient truth. We Are Nothing! The “freedom” of entrepreneurship is often seen as the way out of our brokenness, but please do not be mistaken my friends. Your work; your ambitions; your wealth; your poverty; your testimony; they are little more then a recondite ripple in the tapestry of our Holy God. The obvious translation of this weeks scripture would simply confirm that it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus. However, we’ve all heard that message a million times and still unabashedly adhere to the carnality that pervades our hearts. I’ve written a story to illustrate this point:

There once was a small flower patch, next to a playground, in a large park near the middle of a city, where a bee flew from flower to flower, day after day, gathering nectar. The bee, though it desperately longed for a life beyond the confines of its flowers, worked very diligently to perform it’s duties well. In that same time and place there was a child. Everyday, the child and its mother would visit the playground in the park near the flowers where the bee gathered its nectar. One day, while the bee flew from flower to flower and the child played, the two shared the misfortune of meeting.

On the day of the meeting, the child, recently learning to say and recognize flower, laughed and clapped and walked near the edge of the flower patch as the bee worked. The bee, like any other day of its life, flew from flower to flower gathering nectar for its colony. However, underneath the quite facade of the bee’s diligent work, existed a desire to be more; in fact, the bee dreamt of not being a bee at all. The bee, no matter how preposterous it sounded, wanted to be the greatest painter that ever lived. The bee understood how outlandish his aspirations were, especially as a successful honey manufacturer, so it kept its dreams to itself for many years.

On this particular day, while the child played near the edge of the flower patch, the bee became full of bitterness and animosity. The bee was tired of denying itself the pleasure of more fulfilling life so it decided to fly far, far away from the flower patch it had spent it’s life working in. At that moment, the bee, mentally charged with fear and anticipation and the child who was playing frivolously among the flowers collided. The bee, petrified by the frightful screeches of the child, did the only thing it knew to do; it stung the child. The child instantly erupted in a wild display of painful horror. No one in the park knew what happened but from the sound and sight of the child leaping and rolling and stomping through the flower patch they knew it must have been very, very painful.

During the child’s outburst, the bee was struck and now laid helplessly upon the dew of the grass. Barely able to raise it’s head, the bee saw what seemed to be a never ending sea of trampled and disfigured flowers. It’s head hung low, the bee began to think how quickly it’s life’s work had been so irreparably ruined. Meanwhile, the mother sat with the child cradled in her arms. When she found the source of her child’s pain, the bee watch as she and the child left the playground. Now realizing the gravity of it’s actions, the bee began to sob with heart wrenching sadness. No human at the park or bee in it’s colony could hear it’s anguish. Hours later, all alone, the bee took it’s final breath. This happened as the child slept. When the child awoke, a new bee began to fly from flower to flower, unaffected and unaware by the events of the day, and life went on.

Can you see yourself in this story? Did you decide to fly far, far away from the flower patch? If so, to who’s faith did you cling? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably leaned upon your own understanding and decided to pray, rather then prayed to decide. It may seem like I’m playing a juvenile game of semantics but this fundamental change in perception is always the difference between success and complete failure. If you look at the phrases closely you’ll see what I mean.

When a person has decided to pray, they have resolved in their minds that the way that seems right to them will not, as scripture tells us, lead to death and destruction (Proverbs 14:12). However, our fallen nature, as was discussed in the previous post, seeks exoneration. We can’t wait for something new to happen. That urge for new is a desperate desire to fix what is broken within us. However, it can not be conceived before God’s revelation, which is above the sun. It’s the irony of not being able to focus on the Son, even in its physical form as sun, that has created the world we see around us.

The Preacher tactfully reminds us of our inherited brokenness as he agitates the futility of our humanity with questions such as, “What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” The weight of our uselessness often leads us to make decisions apart from the wisdom of God (deciding to pray). Fortunately he does not leave our total destruction up to our own doing. Those that love him are not left to fend for themselves. In the midst of our broken circumstances his grace engulfs us as he causes all things to work out for our good (Romans 8:28) In the story of the bee, it’s search for happiness was misguided because what it actually needed was the peace the surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). How many of you are seeking peace from the brokenness you feel inside? Have you ever stopped to consider that you’re not the only one? People buy your goods because they are searching for peace too….a service to placate the empty busyness of deed; a shirt to cover the internal yearning for validation; adding friends to your social network as a way to eradicate the sorrow of being forgotten by the world. The beauty of the story of the bee is that life goes on. No matter what you’re running from or running toward, life will go on no matter what. The deepest of your pains will go away and the hole that it leaves will be quickly filled by a God that is working everything out for the good of those that love him.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 4 posts on The Prosper Magazine an Online Community of Christian Entrepreneurs.

Business Architect/ Partner of The Verge Business Group & Co-Founder The coIN Loft

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One Response to “The Pursuit of Happiness: A Businessman’s Walk Through Ecclesiastes”

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Prosper Magazine and The Prosper Magazine, Pedro Moore. Pedro Moore said: Check Out The Pursuit of Happiness: A Businessman’s Walk Through Ecclesiastes: Week 2: Ecclesiastes 1:3-4 & 9-11 … http://bit.ly/6OaEGV […]


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