Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 2:10-11:
10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun
These verses talk about two areas of our life where we can the mistake of conducting them “under the sun”, as verse 11 talks about, i.e related to leaving God out of the equation, in these areas of our life.
The first area is talked about in verse 10. The writer describes not keeping anything from his eyes that they desired. It alludes to our relationship to things we desire, such as money, possessions and material things. When we conduct this area of our life “under the sun” leaving God out, we make the things we desire, our gods, our primary source of pleasure and enjoyment, rather than gifts from God, and therefore secondary sources of pleasure and enjoyment. That is what they should be, God being our primary source of pleasure and enjoyment.
The second area where we can make a mistake, is talked about in the second half of verse 10, where the writer talks about labor. Labor, our work, what we do in life, is something we can conduct “under the sun”, leaving God out, such as when we define who we are, our value and worth by our labor, what we achieve, rather than by what God says about us and the value He places on us.
If we relate to things we desire “under the sun” we will find ourselves on a never ending pursuit, where whatever we have, enough will never be enough. If we define our worth “under the sun”, we will find ourselves on a never ending treadmill of the need to achieve and succeed, where again in terms of our performance, enough will never be enough.
We must live in the sun, not under it, God being what primarily fulfills us, all other desires being secondary to Him, and God being what primarily defines us, defines our worth and value, with worth and value we get from what we do, being secondary to that.
Live in the sun, not under it.