Ecclesiastes 6:1 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon humankind: 2 those to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that they lack nothing of all that they desire, yet God does not enable them to enjoy these things, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous ill.
When we read “those to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor…” we probably don’t think of ourselves as falling into this category. But by any global standard most of us are wealthy. Argue if you must, but it’s true. We lack nothing of consequence from a material perspective. We have been given by God all we need – and even many things we simply want.
I like stuff as much as the next person. I don’t obsess over material things, but I enjoy them for sure. What I find interesting about this passage is “yet God does not enable (us) to enjoy these things”. God may lavish us with material things, but the satisfaction they bring tends to be fleeting. It’s great for a while, but then “meh”. Happens to me all the time.
I’ve found it doesn’t really matter the size/scope of the purchase, the thrill is temporary. It can be exciting to make a major purchase like a house or a car, but after a while it’s simply a place to live or a means of transportation. Smaller purchase are all the more so. Why do you think this is the case?
Well, what I’ve come to understand over the years is that joy, satisfaction, peace, contentment are all things that come from the inside out – not the other way around. Material possessions can be fun, really fun, but won’t satisfy our deepest longings. The only One who can offer the sort of thrill our hearts and souls long for… is God.
Lord, teach us to seek satisfaction, contentment, and joy where they can be found – in our relationship with you. Amen.