“Do not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). We must always check the motives of our heart in every venture. John Calvin stated that our hearts are a “perpetual factory of idols.” Romans 1:23 states that we are prone to exchange “the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” In short, we worship created things rather than the creator. We elevate the gift over the giver.
The Preacher gives us balance here at the end of chapter 5. Money and wealth are not inherently evil. They are gifts. However, true wealth comes from communion with the giver. Joy comes in the recognition that what we have is God’s and God alone is our satisfaction. Jim Winter summarizes this by saying, “It’s all a matter of focus. If our emphasis is upon the gifts, then they will consume us and ultimately destroy us. If our emphasis is on the giver, the gifts are peripheral and can be used for his glory. This leads to true contentment and joy in the Lord (Philippians 4:11–13).” (Opening up Ecclesiastes, p. 82)
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
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