Ecclesiastes 5:10-12

“The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity. When goods increase, those who eat them increase; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of laborers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5:10-12

That first sentence is intriguing. The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. It raises the question of what it means to be satisfied and it reminds us that there is a great deal of value in feeling satisfied. But it says that neither money or wealth will get us there.

It reminds me of that famous quote from John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest man in the history of the United States. When asked “How much money is enough money?”, he replied “Just a little bit more.” (Which, by the way, provided the title for a great book written by T. Carlos Anderson, a Lutheran pastor in Austin.)

I look back at my life and I see an endless procession of “if only I could have that I would never want another thing in my life…” It hasn’t ended yet and no thing, as in nothing, that could be bought, borrowed, or saved as provided any ultimate satisfaction in my life. There is always room for just a little bit more.

As it says in the Amazon description of Anderson’s book, “Is America a Christian Nation? According to author T. Carlos Anderson, the true religion of the land is the confluence of commerce, materialism, and consumerism. Anderson, defining religion as ultimate concern, claims our true devotion is found in material pursuits. It’s been a good religion; it has fed, clothed, sheltered, and employed millions of Americans. It can go too far, however. When these pursuits become excessive, the religion breaks bad and the common good suffers.”

Sound familiar?

The writer also tells us that “Sweet is the sleep of laborers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.” Ask any owner of a small business or an executive at a large company and they would tell you what sleepless nights feel like when things aren’t going so well. They feel the weight of responsibility, not only to their own families, but to all those they employ. The more one has to lose, the more one fears losing it.

So what does offer us ultimate satisfaction? Here is the Apostle Paul’s answer:

I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

I have learned to be content with whatever I have. Be content today.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, all that we have, and all that we are, comes from your hand as a generous gift. May we use your blessings to be a blessing. May we be good stewards of our lives. May we share what we have and share room for others to gain what they need. Strengthen us to do what you have called and set us aside to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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One Response to “Ecclesiastes 5:10-12”

  1. Carolyn Carr Says:

    The closest I’ve come to being satisfied with what I have in my life is now with the man God gave me to care for, my husband Gene.
    Don’t think I want any more or less, or different. Wouldn’t be able to train anyone else in the time I have left. ( Took me 45 years to train him!)
    I am comfortable, happy, and love him deeply, and trust him in everything.
    Does that count?

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