Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20030910.htm
ECCLESIASTES: PROVIDING A CORRECT WORLD VIEW FOR A LIFE OF MEANING
Part VI: Finding Lasting Fulfillment In View Of The Vanity Of Life's Circumstances
D. Handling The Futility Of Hoarded Riches
(Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 with 12:13-14)
Lesson: (1) Hoarding wealth in this life is not good, for (a) it oppresses the hoarder, an exercise in futility, and (b) it tends to oppress the hoarder's subordinates as an evil; (2) hence, we must not hoard wealth, but use what income or wealth we are granted to meet God's eternally important goals FOR us.
- It is a fact that our culture and economy require one to have money to live this life. Yet, some associate happiness with the amount of wealth hoarded, and thus spend their time chasing the "almighty dollar"!
- Solomon noted the futility of hoarding wealth if life is viewed empirically only ("under the sun"), and he provided a moving lesson on finding lasting fulfillment in another direction as follows:
- Handling The Futility Of Hoarded Riches, Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 with 12:13-14.
- Solomon noted many people are greedy for hoarding wealth, and this affects what occurs in the "economic food chain:" the official over the farmer who takes income from the land exacts tribute from that farmer, then the ruler over that official exacts tribute from that official, and this drain of tribute is repeated by one superior over another all the way up the "economic food chain" to the king who exacts tribute from his close subordinates. In this way, the land "feeds" everybody's greed, from the farmer to the king, 5:8-9.
- However, one who seeks to fill his greed for money never meets such a goal (as follows):
- In the first place, those who love money are never satisfied with the amount they have collected, 5:10a.
- Then, those who love money are neither satisfied with the income they have to make a living, 5:10b.
- Solomon provided the following reasons why those who love money never see their lust fulfilled:
- First, the more wealth one collects, the greater the number of people who want to consume it, putting pressure on the hoarder, Ecclesiastes 5:11a.
- Second, the only benefit the hoarder derives from hoarded wealth is to feast his eyes on them, for wealth is of value only as it is spent for goods and services, Ecclesiastes 5:11b!
- Third, unlike the man who labors for his income who can thus sleep due to his fatigue, the man of wealth who does not work struggles with insomnia over having to keep an eye out for thieves, 5:12.
- Fourth, sometimes collected wealth harms its hoarder's health or relationships due to the attraction other greedy people have to his collected wealth, Ecclesiastes 5:13.
- Fifth, misfortune in life can cause a hoarder to lose his collected wealth so that he leaves nothing for his heirs to their sorrow, Ecclesiastes 5:14.
- Sixth, death ultimately blocks the goal of the hoarder: he came into this life without any possessions and he will leave it being unable to take any possessions with him, Ecclesiastes 5:15.
- Seventh, noting death interrupts his drive for hoarding wealth and that only frustration and toil face his effort to hoard wealth, the greedy man is left feeling oppressed and angry, Ecclesiastes 5:16-17.
- Thus, Solomon concluded it is better for a man not to be greedy, but to be satisfied with the toil he must experience to make his living and with the income he gains in that toil, for doing so keeps him focused on happy things rather than reflecting on the futile shortness of his earthly life, Ecclesiastes 5:18-20.
- However, that is easier said than done, for many find their current livelihood or earnings income so low that there is little about these things left to make them very happy. That being so, Solomon put the futility of hoarded wealth in proper perspective in his grand conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 as follows:
- Solomon's conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 applies to all the parts of his book.
- That lesson asserts the sole meaning of this earthly life is found in heeding Scripture's revelation that man must fear God and thus heed Him in this life, for man will give an account for that after this life.
- Hence, one must not make hoarding wealth his life's goal, for that is an exercise in futility and it tends to promote oppression to one's subordinates (in light of Eccles. 5:8-9). Rather, he must be satisfied with the income God permits him to have, and use it to accomplish God's eternal will!
Application: (1) In accord with God's will, may we trust in Christ as Savior and disciple others for Him, Mtt. 28:19-20. (2) May we use our wealth and income to disciple others, 1 Timothy 6:8-10, 17-19.