18Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
(Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 ESV)
After pointing out the pain and hopelessness of a life lived “under the sun” (i.e. apart from God) Solomon now points out that those whose perspective includes God enjoy life despite the difficulties they face in their own lives and see in the world around them.
Solomon’s words are the result of his observations and experience – what he has seen. And he wants his readers to behold what he has to say. That is, we are to pay attention because it’s important.
Solomon determined that was is good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils. Our days God has given us under the sun (i.e. on earth) are few. It is God’s desire for us to enjoy all we do in life and not let the many problems we face get us down, for they are only temporary and have been created, for the most part, by those who don’t know God.
Most of the world will live apart from God. As a result they will take the world places it should not go, making life more difficult than it needs to be. Don’t get involved. Pay no attention. Don’t get suckered into worrying about the things going on around you. Just focus on God. Enjoy every second you spend on this earth because it is our lot to do so. It is why God created us.
Even though we work, our wealth and possessions are given by God. For God has given us the skill, intelligence, and infrastructure for work. Further, since God has given us all these things He wants us to enjoy them. So He also gave us the power to enjoy our work and the results of our work.
To accept one’s lot in life – to be happy with what we have – and to rejoice in our work (toil) is a form of worshipping God. To not be content with what we have or what we do is to be ungrateful to the God who has given us these things.
Our capacity to enjoy what we have is, therefore, more important than what we have. We must be more occupied with the giver than the gift for possessions cannot satisfy. Only God can satisfy.
When we spend our days enjoying what we do and enjoying what we have we will not much remember the previous days of our lives because we will be too occupied with the joy God has placed in our heart.
This God-given joy is the answer to the afflictions “under the sun”. We ought not spend our time fretting over how hard life is. Rather we should accept what God has allotted to us for our use in this world.
If we do then our days will be enjoyable right here and right now. Dwelling on the past or dreaming too much about the future causes worry and discontentment. Knowing God and enjoying His provision enriches life.
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