1I 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.
(Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 ESV)
King Solomon, by careful observation of his own life and of life in general, had seen another evil under the sun (i.e. on earth). Solomon’s viewpoint here (as in most of this book) is life on earth – the domain of man. This implies that there is life beyond earth – the domain of God. In God’s domain (i.e. heaven) this evil (and the others he mentions in this book) do not exist.
This evil is one that weighs heavily on mankind. The Hebrew word רַב (pronounced: rab) which is translated “weighs heavily” means “great; prevalent”. The situation Solomon is going to describe was not rare in his day and is not rare today. It affects the vast majority of the world’s population.
And that evil is this: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor – He gives them all their hearts desire. But He does not grant them the ability to enjoy them. Notice that God is the source of all we have and He is the source of enjoyment as well.
The problem too many of us have is that we think that “things” can satisfy us. But this is not true. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are the most miserable. Why? Because they keep thinking that “more” can make them happy. So they acquire more only to find out that they are only more disappointed.
True enjoyment is not found in the thing itself, but in knowing that it was God who gave it to us. When we receive with gratitude that which God gives we can enjoy what we have.
The philosophy of our culture tells us that we “deserve” things and that we should claim our “rights”. That mentality can only lead to misery because we cannot be grateful if we are only receiving that which we believe we should have anyway. If we follow this philosophy we will focus only on what we don’t have, not what we do have, and we will be resentful and ungrateful. We clearly see such attitudes in our culture. Gratitude is the path to enjoying life.
One prevalent theme in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, is we should live like little children. When young children receive a gift from their father (or mother) they are happy to receive it. They enjoy it not because of what it is – it could be only worth a few cents – but because it was given to them from their father. As adults we need to receive from God with the same attitude.
The car you drive is a gift from God. Maybe you don’t have a car. Then the bus your ride is a gift from God. The job you have, the pen you write with, your toothbrush, the light bulbs in your house… everything was given to you from your heavenly Father who knows you need these things. And it is His great pleasure to give them to you.
Be thankful [1 Thessalonians 5:18]. Then you’ll enjoy life.
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