An Unusual Pursuit

          “I said in my heart, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of
          wisdom and knowledge.’ And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after
          wind.”          – Ecclesiastes 1:16-17
     When people are gifted with privilege, they can become engaged in some unusual indulgences. They can do things out of unchecked beliefs or appetites or curiosities that people of no means might find odd or wasteful. When King Solomon revealed that he would set out on a mission of discovery about life, I can only imagine how people may have reacted. His observations in Ecclesiastes 1:16-17 seem to be arrogant and boastful, but what he knew about himself was accurate. He was greater than any of the kings before him. He was gifted with God’s favor. No one could truly compare.
     The idea that Solomon would test the lifestyles of wisdom, madness, and folly was born of God, yet it was unusual. He had been equipped to do it with plenty of resources. He could see what people were trying to achieve and see if there was anything to it. This was a tough temptation, because if any of his experiments with achievement or pleasure fell together, or became something he loved, he might never have recovered. However, God had also equipped Solomon with wisdom to know the outcomes before he embarked upon his mission. Yet he wanted to understand it.
     I’m familiar with this kind of thinking. When I ran into reckless indulgence as a young man, I did things I knew were wrong, yet I was curious about them. Thanks to God, though, I was guided out of bad situations by my wisdom even though I didn’t enter them with wisdom. I wonder, do we who have been Christians for many years still fall into this trap? Do we sometimes ignore the wisdom God has given us through the Bible and through godly mentors and give in to our curiosity? I pray God will give us enough wisdom to learn lessons from Solomon, and from others who have made mistakes and passed along their knowledge to us. We don’t have to learn from our own mistakes.
By Robert Harris and Jason Burke