Day 14: Contented with our lot in life (6:1,2)
“There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease” (6:1,2).
Continuing on and reinforcing what life under the sun is really like, the Preacher reflects on something that is common among men – they may get all they ever want (and, incidentally, it is because God gives to them) but they are unable to enjoy the riches, wealth, and honour that has been given. The truth of the matter is, because fallen man does not put his confidence in God, he finds it necessary to put his confidence in something. Often, this “something” includes material wealth. The Preacher paints a depressing picture of a man with many children, who are not around to give him a good send off when he is dead, and the man who lives a long (2000 years) life. He is likened to a still born baby: “It never sees the light of day or knows what life is like, but at least it has found rest – more so than the man who never enjoys life” (6:5,6 GNT). He concludes: “We do all our work just to get something to eat, but we never have enough. How are the wise better off than fools? What good does it do the poor to know how to face life? It is useless; it is like chasing the wind. It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else.” (6:7-9 GNT.)
The key thought is contentment, and we should be content with what we have and with God. Like J.N.Darby, at the end of his life, we might say: “He is all we want … I can look back and see a patience and a faithfulness, a goodness beyond all my thoughts”. We might echo the words of the hymn: “All good gifts around us, are sent from Heaven above, so thank the Lord, oh, thank the Lord for all His love”. Then there was the rich young ruler who preferred treasure on earth more than in heaven (Mark 10:21). But we will let the Apostle Paul have the last word, which is a commentary on today’s text and others given earlier by the Preacher: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” Philippians 4:11. Also, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” 1 Timothy 6:6-10.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for what we have and help us to be content with it. May we be found ever seeking you and living our life in order to bring you glory.