The Grace of Enjoyment

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, teach me to be content in You and to live from the place of peace that only You can offer.

 

Read:ECCLESIASTES 5:8-6:12

[8] If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. [9] The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields. [10] Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. [11] As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? [12] The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep. [13] I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners, [14] or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children there is nothing left for them to inherit. [15] Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands. [16]This too is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind? [17] All their days they eat in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger. [18] This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them-for this is their lot. [19] Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil-this is a gift of God. [20] They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. [1] I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: [2] God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil. [3] A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. [4] It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. [5] Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man- [6] even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place? [7] Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. [8] What advantage have the wise over fools? What do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before others? [9] Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. [10] Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend with someone who is stronger. [11] The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone? [12] For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?

Reflect:WHAT TREASURES DO YOU POSSESS THAT MONEY CAN'T BUY?

The Bible says: “Money is the root of all evil”–right? Wrong! Paul writes: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” (1 Tim. 6:10).The observations of the Teacher–one of the wealthiest men of his time–help in understanding the proper place and true nature of riches. Poverty has its problems, but so does wealth. The “lover of wealth” is never truly “satisfied” (5:10; 6:7), since the deepest needs of the human heart are those things that money can’t buy. A paradox of our times is that “We buy more, but enjoy it less” (Bob Moorhead, The Paradox of Our Time). Riches don’t always or automatically produce joy (6:2). Although they can buy comforts, the anxieties (and perhaps clogged arteries!) accompanying these may also beget insomnia (5:12). God intended that human labor be fruitful (Gen. 2:15). God himself grants the ability to produce wealth (Deut. 8:18). And it is God who gives us the grace of enjoyment to experience contentment and joy in the fruits of our labor (Eccles. 5:19).

 

APPLY

Demonstrate your gratitude by sharing what you have with someone whom you know is in need.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Source of Life, Love and Joy, You are God and I desire You above all.

 

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