"There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow." NIV translation
Wow! Does this fit our culture today or what? It seems that we hear all of the time that we are building up things and going to leave a legacy for generations to come. But, here, the wisest man in the world tells us that there is no legacy apart from God. No matter what we do on our own, people will forget us in time. The only legacy that God called us to build was a legacy of faith in Him and that is why we are to remember and share what God has done in and through us.
"I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men!" NIV translation
Solomon reminds us of his position and that, as king, his wisdom is all that mattered in his kingdom. The people obey the king and what he says but he studied and tried to apply his wisdom. Philosophy is the study of fundamental truths and God is truth so without godly wisdom we cannot understand truth. The same can be said of us, as Christians, that we cannot understand the truths of God without His help and wisdom. That help and wisdom is made available to us through the Holy Spirit.
"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted." NIV translation
Solomon demonstrates his wisdom in these sayings and his conclusion about our works. Have you ever tried to chase the wind? Have you ever caught it and kept it? We can either spend our time here on earth "chasing after the wind" and things that will disappear or chasing after everlasting things.
"I thought to myself, 'Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.' Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind." NIV translation
The wisest man in the world applied himself to what we would call psychology today. This is the understanding of the mind, how it operates normally, and its disorders. He once again realized that, in the end, it does not matter if you understand the inner workings of the mind or not.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." NIV translation
Solomon sums up his study of wisdom by the fact that wisdom alone does not bring joy but instead brings sorrow and grief. We may ask ourselves how this can be true as in our culture today it seems that education in earthly things has been almost elevated to idolatry. With much knowledge, we can see how things should be but we do not have the power to change many things and so can come sorrow and grief. With real wisdom which is from God, we can see how things should be and know that all will be made new and right by the power of God.