Reading Assignment: Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12
Did you understand what you read?
- Give two reasons why a person who wants wealth never has enough.
- Why is the desire for wealth harmful to a person's health?
- What is the attitude a person should have towards their current wealth, whether they are poor or wealthy?
- Is it sinful to be wealthy? Is it harmful?
- Who are those who are granted wealth, but not able to enjoy it?
We should not be surprised when we see oppression and injustice. Corruption is not isolated to a certain place or time. The world is full of people who want more power or more wealth or both. Even the highest ruler in a country is not exempt from these temptations.
The problem with desiring wealth is that you never have enough. You always desire more because it is the accumulating of riches that thrills you. Then there is the problem that increased wealth brings about increased expenses. The more you make the more passes through your hands.
Great wealth also brings about other problems. Hard work helps a person to sleep well. A laborer has few worries, but the wealthy has many problems (I Timothy 6:9-10). A rich man has difficulty sleeping because of his riches. Those who desire riches tend to hoard what they have, sometimes to the neglect of their own needs. Money is a very unstable commodity. It is very easy to suddenly lose a great deal of wealth. Finally, you can't take it with you when you die. The accumulation of wealth will not help you in the next life. Just think, people will deprive themselves of many of life's blessings to have these problems.
What should be our attitude towards wealth? First, and most important, is to be content with what you have (Philippians 4:11-12; I Timothy 6:6-8). Enjoy the few days of life that you have. Live each day to its fullest. Sometimes God grants a few of us wealth, not because we were something special, but because we happened to be lucky. If you have been so blessed, enjoy your wealth. Use your funds wisely (I Timothy 6:17-19). Occupy yourself with gladness of heart and not cares of life. Some people are granted wealth, but they cannot enjoy it. We call them misers. They make themselves miserable by hoarding their wealth to themselves. Solomon says they would have a better life if they had been born dead - at least they would be at peace.
The foremost problem to avoid is the desire for more. When you live your life desiring what you do not have, it is like the glutton who eats but is never full. Be satisfied with what you have instead of what you want.
Solomon pauses in Ecclesiastes 6:12 for a brief summary. Most things in life happen to us, not because of our efforts but because of random events. We can't gain anything by fighting circumstances or God. There are so many things that we have seen that are worthless pursuing. What is really important in this short life? It is difficult to determine since we cannot see our future.
Solomon asks two questions: "For what more has the wise man than the fool? What does the poor man have, who knows how to walk before the living?" (Ecclesiastes 6:8). Taking into account the context of this verse, what are the answers to Solomon's questions?