Honestly, sometimes, the book of Ecclesiastes can be kind of depressing and overwhelming to me.
It’s the dance of “here is why life is horrible” and “here is how you can make life better.” There’s a lot of “this’s” and “that’s” that juxtapose together to make a book full of challenge and cut-to-the-chase wisdom. Solomon definitely doesn’t beat around the bush about anything.
Over the past few weeks my eyes have really been opened to the honesty of God’s word. Not that I ever doubted the truth that it holds, but I think I sometimes glazed over the brutal honesty that God shares through each writer and each moment.
And as we’ve been going through a very challenging series at Friendship Church, discovering how to Conquer 2016 and actually get to the root of many of the problems we want to attack at the beginning of each year, my eyes have really been opened to one major thing:
Am I satisfied in this life God has given me?
So, every week, I’ve been reading different verses that coincide with each week’s message, and there’s one particular passage that really caused me to dig deeper, read more context, and really dive in to what was being said.
Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness. Ecclesiastes 5:10
Now, I’m not about to start talking finances or anything like that. (This goes so much deeper, and that was one of the main objectives during that part of the series.) What really got me on this is how Solomon just tells it like it is.
Love money? You’ll never have enough. Oh, and if you think all your riches will bring satisfaction in your life – wrongo!
And if you keep reading, it gets better. Everything you earn slips through your fingers…everyone leaves this world the way they came, naked and empty-handed.
However, there is much truth and challenge said in Solomon’s words. He’s warning us so that we invest in what is truly worth it.
Remember that juxtaposition I told you about? Here it is in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20:
It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God.
Wow. Anyone else convicted by that statement? What has been placed in front of me is truly a gift from God.
So, here’s the truth in all of this – try to gain wealth and riches and stuff and approval and anything else that attempts to fill that void of dissatisfaction or tries to feed that hunger for greed, and use that as your only drive and desire in life…yeah, life is gonna suck in the long-term. Sure, it’ll feel great in the moment, but when the high of getting the stuff wears off, you’ll find yourself hungry again. (Just like those sushi veggie rolls I just ate. The rice filled me up for a moment because it expanded in my tummy, but now I’m hungry again.)
The counter to this is this: Embrace what God has given you and enjoy this life (that he desires for us to enjoy by the way), and the fulfillment we’re looking for will naturally flow out of his blessings.
We’ll discover that we’re so busy being satisfied with what God has placed in our lives at that very moment, that we won’t have the time to think about what we could have in the past, present, or future.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13, emphasis mine
Satisfaction probably isn’t going to happen overnight. It will definitely have to be learned, but through Christ’s strength, contentment is possible.