Tag Archives: wealth

Ecclesiastes 1-2; Life Worth Living

Solomon was unhappy. The wisest man who ever lived, arguably the most wealthy, most powerful ruler who ever walked this earth despaired of life. After a concerted effort to find meaning and happiness, he’d come to the conclusion that life was futile. From where he was standing, I’d have to agree.

And, like Solomon would remind us, nothing has changed in the thousands of years since he wrote this book. We can see that fact in our 2018 world; people who are the richest, most famous, most powerful, those with astronomical IQ’s and multiple doctorates are some of the unhappiest people. Suicides, divorces, substance abuse, health issues relating to stress are symptoms of rampant unhappiness.

Yet, aren’t the “things” these people have the very things millions of people are working toward or dreaming of? Solomon would advise, “Don’t bother.”

I remember when I was in college, hearing it said that achievement is the birth of despair. Because once you’ve reached your goals, now what do you do? Do you start over again? Do you just sit on it? Because the truth of the matter is, someone is eventually going to surpass you. The euphoria you feel as a result of achieving your goal is short-lived. Then often, despair follows.

Meaningless, Solomon would say. A chasing after a wind.

The key to Solomon’s despair, and to so many others who relate to what he is saying, is that the pursuit of happiness apart from God is hollow at best. Solomon is right to think “if this is all there is, it’s not that great.”

Those of us who know God know this isn’t all there is. We know there is nothing new under the sun, and we’re ok with that because we know what’s above the sun. We don’t put our lives in the hands of money, or fame, health, or people. We know all of that will pass away, like everything else.

But we would not say that this life is meaningless, or a puff of wind. We know life is a gift from God, and He is the giver of all good things. We believe Jesus when he said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

We know that (our) labor is not in vain. (I Corinthians 15:58). There is meaning, and purpose, joy, and assurance in the Lord, every day of this amazing life we live in Him.

And, God’s mercies are new every morning! It’s God Himself who makes life worth living.

August 7

Jeremiah 29:1-32, 49:34-39, 50:1-46; 2 Kings 24:18-20, 2 Chronicles 36:11-14

Something I read this morning in Jeremiah reminded me of what God laid on my heart yesterday. 29:11 is a verse of promise:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So does that mean God wants us to win the lottery and beat cancer in our bodies? Are Christians meant to be wealthy and healthy? Isn’t that what this verse says?

It sure seems to. And If I base my theology on this verse alone I could be the pastor of a mega church full of people anxiously waiting for their numbers to be drawn.

But read the whole chapter. God isn’t talking about a financial windfall. The Jews are in captivity and God wanted them to know he hadn’t forgotten them. Besides, there is a condition to God’s blessing (as is consistent with all of Scripture). WHEN they turned back to him, WHEN they seek (him) with all (their) hearts, THEN God would rescue them.

I am reminded to look for the spiritual application for us in 2013. God wants to bless us with his Presence, his peace, his hope. That’s what he plans for each of us. And he will be faithful to shower those things on us when we seek HIM.

Is it wealth you want? You want the wrong thing, my friend. Is it health? Again, you are aiming way too low. Seek God. Enjoy the fellowship of the God of creation, the One who loves you so much he went to the cross so you could walk with him.

In him is our hope and our future. Nothing else can truly satisfy. Nothing else will last.

June 5

Proverbs 28-30

Are you one of the millions of people who play the lottery hoping, maybe even praying for that big windfall? Do you dream about what you’d do with a couple million dollars? Do you try to strike a bargain with God by telling him all the great things you’d do with that money?

Agur asked two things of God. One was honesty. The other was middle-class living. Agur didn’t want to hit the lottery because he didn’t want to even be tempted to disown God. He didn’t want to be so poor he’d be tempted to steal, either. So he asked God to allow him to live honestly and modestly.

How much money would it take for you to be satisfied? Probably most of us reading these Scriptures today are able to pay our bills. There is probably food in our refrigerators. And we have shoes on our feet. I’m not saying riches are evil. And I’m not saying people who live in poverty are criminals. 

But I think God is asking us to take inventory. Many of the proverbs speak about work, doing our best, not just sitting around. Are you a good worker regardless of your financial position? Can you lay your head on your pillow each night confident that you honored God with what you accomplished? Do you tithe from what you already have? If God can’t trust you with what you have don’t even think about getting more.

I am not saying it’s wrong to work for a promotion at work. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be trying to do our best and it’s ok to expect to get paid. But if riches are our focus we’ve already fallen into the temptation Agur was fearful of.

Paul said he learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself. My prayer is that we all will do that, too. Instead of dreaming about that quick fix, that instant wealth, let’s thank God for what we have and get busy doing what is important for eternity.

Honest living. Modest living. Sounds like a plan.