This wasn't always the case. For much of my life I was content to be a prince of the great King. However, the King grew old and his time began to grow short. On his deathbed he chose me over my brothers to take the throne. Soon, I would be responsible for a vast and unwieldy kingdom.
"Lord, I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties."
Then one night, the Lord God offered me something extraordinary.
“Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
My mind raced with possibilities: wealth, long life, the defeat of my enemies. Yet, what good would any of these things be if I could not use them wisely?
"Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong."
The Lord God was pleased by my choice and granted my request. In addition, He promised me all the things that I did not ask for. Though these things brought me a measure of happiness, it was wisdom that I had come to crave. I wanted to know everything.
The early years of my reign brought me great renowned. Everyone, from prostitutes to the Queen of Sheba herself, sought my counsel. To some, I was known as the Teacher. There was no one like me in terms of wisdom and knowledge. Still, I was not satisfied. There was so much to learn and experience; my curiosity was constantly piqued.
"I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven."
When I discovered that exploring a wide array of topics was not enough, I sought to study the very concept of wisdom, then madness, and then folly. Even still, I was not satisfied. It was then that I turned to pleasure. I simply wanted to understand it…at first. I spent years reveling in wine, wealth, and women. I had magnificent buildings constructed, vineyards planted, parks designed. I embraced folly. Worst of all, I lost sight of the One who gave me wisdom.
I wanted to know everything. Yet, at the end of all my studies, when I learned all there was worth knowing, I came to a profound conclusion:
"Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
What good had my earthly strivings been? What had been the point of my lifelong pursuit to quench my curiosity? Without God, these things were meaningless.
Now I am an old man, full of wisdom, yes; but also full of regret. The Lord had fulfilled all of my needs in order that I may be a wise and righteous ruler. Yet, I lost focus and followed my own path.
Soon, it will be time for me to choose which son will rule in my place. I will use all the knowledge God has given me to pick a capable successor, but I’m afraid it won’t be enough. For though I have gained in wisdom, I have been neglectful in imparting it to my own children. Before it’s too late, I begin to write my thoughts down; to share what I have learned with my family, my kingdom, and with future generations. Perhaps some good will come from my abused gift, but for my part, I paid the price for my insatiable curiosity.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."