Solomon laid out the yardsticks of success in ancient Jewish society: wealth, honor, possessions, a very large family, and a very long life (Ecclesiastes 6:2-3). Today, a large family and long life would be deemed by some as more of a burden and trouble than success. But wealth, possessions, and honor are definitely contemporary yardsticks of success.
Even as you strive hard to accumulate lots of money and material possessions and attain a high standing with people, Solomon warns of a serious “sickening tragedy” (Ecclesiastes 6:2) that could happen to you: Although wealthy, you struggled to enjoy your wealth. You have no enjoyment and little joy. You are dissatisfied and never satisfied with what you have. Contentment is elusive and illusive. Solomon says that God has not given you the ability to enjoy your wealth (Ecclesiastes 6:2 NIV). How can this be?
The wise writer reminds us that wealth, family, and long life do not automatically bring joy and contentment. You may have them, but you can’t enjoy them if God doesn’t give you the permission and ability to do so. Perhaps this is why some wealthy Christians are miserable, dissatisfied with what they have, and discontented with life.
Even as we ask God for material blessings, we need to pray that He will also graciously give us the ability and opportunity to enjoy them. Solomon concludes: “I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him?” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25).
This means thanking God for everything (Ephesians 5:20), and in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Without gratitude, enjoyment of life is elusive and illusive (Job 1:21). But without God, enjoyment of life is impossible.
What material blessings has God given you? Are you enjoying them? Why or why not?
Taken from “Our Daily Journey”