What is the point of being wise?
One looks about the natural world and wonders at the wondrous things he or she sees. The streams flow into a basin, but the basin never fills and overflows. The wind blows with wicked violence, but in the proximity to the wind, one structure is destroyed, while another stands undamaged. How does the rock balance on such a small precipice? When typhoons (hurricanes) rampage over the water, does anything in the water suffer because of it?
You can set your mind to gain wisdom, but the wisdom gained, while it answers some questions, generates different questions that seem to have no answer. Solomon was a wise man; none wiser before him or since him (the Lord excepted). He looked out over the natural world and wondered aloud (and in print) the point of it all. What gain did he have in the wisdom the Lord gave him long ago (cf. 1 Kings 3)? When one looks at life “under the sun” – is there any point to this gain or that loss?
He set himself to understand the value of wisdom is not in what a person enjoys or avoids; neither is it found in what he builds. That which is built gives satisfaction, but the satisfaction that came from building deteriorates as the building deteriorates when it is left untended. The structures built are left for others that come after; will there exist the same motivation and respect with the original intentions? Who knows whether it will be cared for or left abandoned? Even if that which is built is perpetuated for generations, with the satisfaction once gained, is it now lost with time and maturity? With the satisfaction gone, what then?
The value of wisdom is when the mind is directed toward Him who is the Author of life, not toward things that break down. Wisdom brings a person to a point when he sees life is more than the material realm in which one lives; it is more than building things and enjoying the pleasures of life. If all one did is evaluate life from strictly an “under the sun” perspective, then life is pointless. On the other hand, with the mind’s eye, one sees more; life is seen as a gift from God.