BEING FIRST TO THE TRAP IS NOT THE GOAL
11 I turned to see that the race under this sun does not go to the swift ones, and the battle does not go to the warriors, and neither does bread go to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, nor favour to men of ability; because time and chance overtake them all. 12 Because man does not recognize his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the children of men are ensnared by an evil time when it suddenly falls upon them.
We are taught that life is a game, and if you play by the rules and work hard, you will win. Horse feathers! Solomon learned that life seldom works out like that. The warriors fail in battle, and the athletes fail in the arena, and all of us fail unfairly all the time. Really smart people end up unemployed and hungry. We are more like fish caught in a net, or birds caught in a snare. Life sneaks up on us while we are learning the rules and bonks us on the head.
The older and the more truly wise you get, the less you try to figure out the way to succeed, and the less success means to you. Once you get over the middle age panic – if you are mature enough – you realize that the game is not the ultimate thing.
LORD give us the wisdom to stop trying to win, and focus on you and our relationship with you.