The book of Ecclesiastes expresses a faith-filled perspective on life. In light of eternity, we can find joy in the midst of the seeming futility of this life, trusting in God’s wisdom and goodness even though we “cannot find out [that is, fathom] the work [of God] that is done under the sun [that is, in this life]” (8:17). Solomon’s famous counsel is not a counsel of despair, but one of contentment and joy with the gifts God has given us:
And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun. (8:15)
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. (9:7)
Solomon’s counsel is true at our own tables, but it is doubly true at God’s table, where our experience of God-given joy is at its highest. Solomon would agree that we are especially to “eat and drink and be joyful” together with Jesus. Jesus has in fact commanded it:
And before Yahweh your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear Yahweh your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when Yahweh your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which Yahweh your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that Yahweh your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before Yahweh your God and rejoice, you and your household. (Deut. 14:23-26)
It is precisely in worship that we gain the insight that Solomon is sharing with us; our visit to God’s throne room reminds us that his plans for eternity give meaning to our seemingly meaningless existence in this life. Recall Asaph’s Psalm 73:
But when I thought how to understand [the wicked’s prosperity and righteous’s suffering],
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end. (16-17)
Solomon and Asaph are in perfect agreement, and their perspective allows us to have the kind of quiet contentment David expresses in Psalm 131, and the kind of contented joy that Solomon commends to us both at God’s table and our own.
Thus, weekly communion: as vital as sermons and other Lord’s-day activities are, especially in worship there is truly “nothing better” than to eat and drink and be merry before our king.