Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:9 NIV
Riches Are Meaningless
8 If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them, both are others higher still. 9 The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields. 10 Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. 11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? 12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep. 13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners, 14 or wealth lost through some misfortune so that when they have children there is nothing left for them to inherit. 15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands. 16 This too is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind? 17 All their days they eat in darkness, with great frustration, affliction, and anger. 18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink, and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot, and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. 6 I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2 God gives some people wealth, possessions, and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil. 3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness, its name is shrouded. 5 Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man— 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place? 7 Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. 8 What advantage have the wise over fools? What do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before others? 9 Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
What priority does the pursuit of wealth and work have in your life?
Lord, you have been so very good to me. I have been given the ability and opportunity to work and earn a wage. I have worked hard and have been blessed to achieve a comfortable life. Thank You, Lord. There is a wonderful satisfaction that comes from being productive and accomplishing good things. There is also a danger when those good things and my selfish pleasures become my main thing. Lord, forgive me when I put the pursuit of wealth over the pursuit of my relationship with You. Wealth is temporary and causes more stress to maintain it. The value of money is limited. To focus on the accumulation of things does not bring joy, only greed for more and it distracts me from true treasure that can come only from You. My security and confidence cannot come from things of this world. Eternal security and confidence come from my relationship with You. I cannot enjoy the simple pleasures in life when I invest in those things. You and Your kingdom have ultimate value. I pray that I keep You first in all aspects of life. Help me to be thankful for what I have been given as a result of hard work and enjoy whatever resources You have given me. Guide me in ways to be generous and resourceful to use it for Your glory. Set my heart on the things of heaven and the true joy and contentment that comes from loving You. Amen