Ecclesiastes 6 can be broken down into three sections:
1. Prosperity cannot purchase contentment (6:1-6)
2. Work cannot guarantee fulfillment (6:7-9)
3. There are some questions without answers (6:10-12)
Prosperity cannot purchase contentment.
All too often mourners stand in graveyards shaking their heads in despair over a life cut short by the departed’s reckless behavior. The loved ones murmur to one another, “He had it all—everything money could buy. He could do anything he wanted to do. It’s so sad.”
It is sad— on both counts: for the deceased who lost everything for nothing and for the mourners who are standing on this side of the grave thinking the possession of “things” should supply anyone with a reason to live.
In his book When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote: “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.” While the first part of Rabbi Kushner’s statement is right “on the money,” the second half falls very short of biblical truth. Tragically, there are many people who will take up residency in hell whose lives meant a great deal to this world and left it a better place.
The only person who is able to give meaning to every soul on earth—from the poorest to the wealthiest—is Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul declared, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content . . . . my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:11, 19).
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