7Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. 8What advantage have the wise over fools? What do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before others? 9Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
(Ecclesiastes 6:7-9 ESV)
All of us work to satisfy our needs, yet our needs need to be replenished. Our needs are never satisfied. This is certainly true of our physical appetite. We get hungry so we eat. Yet no matter how much we enjoyed the meal, in a few hours we will be hungry again.
The same thing is true of thirst and our need for sex. It is also true when it comes to our material possessions. We buy clothes to wear but those clothes wear out. So we have to buy new ones. Same with our cars and shoes.
This is a great truth about all human labor (everyone’s toil); it merely provides for the support of life by procuring things necessary. We work to acquire the same things over and over to meet the same needs we’ve always had and will always have.
As much as this is true of our physical needs, it is also true when it comes to satisfying our souls as well. Whatever earthly thing we pursue to satisfy our soul will eventually wear out. Things can’t satisfy us. Physical things can meet our physical needs. But only temporarily. And they can never satisfy our spiritual needs.
In this regard the wise has no advantage over fools. A wise man might have some advantages over a fool when it comes to wealth or material possessions. A fool might know how to deal with others (i.e. street smarts). But those assets are earth-bound. They are temporary.
For the wise and the fools are liable to same problems of broken relationships, loneliness and emptiness. Both suffer from the same diseases and maladies. And, ultimately, both have to face death.
Neither the wise nor the fools have any advantage when it comes to their soul. Both have as their deepest need the need to satisfy their soul.
As Solomon pointed out, there is no ultimate satisfaction in this life unless you enjoy it. What you have before you (what they eye sees) is better than an appetite that is never satisfied.
A roving appetite is not satisfied with what it has now. It is constantly looking for something newer and shinier and, therefore, cannot ever enjoy life because enjoyment is based on attaining something it does not yet have. Hence, enjoyment is always in the future. And it never arrives.
We enjoy life more when we are satisfied with what we have instead of wishing we had something else. It is better to enjoy the present, even if you have very little, than to chase after the wind, which you can never catch.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.