July 10, 2017
Gladness of Heart
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. 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. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
The book of Ecclesiastes is a life journal written by King Solomon--a man who had it all and tried it all. He had money and he spent it on every pleasure he could find. He denied himself nothing his eyes desired. He had power and he used it to do whatever he thought would make him happy. He had all the "toys," and he played with each one until they were rusted and worn. At the end of his journal, he finally concluded that fearing God and keeping His commandments was the "duty of all mankind."
As Solomon takes us on his journey to find meaning, he pulls off the road every once in a while for a teaching moment. This passage is one of those moments. First, Solomon says, when a person stops living for just them and starts living for God--when they find their true purpose and passion--there is genuine satisfaction. Work is still work involving "toilsome labor" and challenges. But when you're doing what God has made you to do there is deep satisfaction.
Second, when a person understands that wealth and possessions are a gift from God and should be used for God, they can finally enjoy it. When we have God's perspective on our stuff, He "enables" us to enjoy the stuff. A change in mindset from "my stuff to own" to "God's stuff on loan" turns the frenzied pursuit into a satisfied journey. And check out Ecclesiastes 5:20. When we find our calling and have a biblical understanding of "stuff," our days are not about groaning and griping, complaining and carping, fear and fret, apprehension and anxiety. "God keeps [us] occupied with gladness of heart." Is that cool or what?
Father, please teach us the biblical perspective of possessions. Help us understand that all we have comes from You and is to be used for You. And ... help us to appropriately apply that knowledge. In Jesus' name. Amen.