Having More Toys
Have you ever heard it said that the one with the most toys wins? The pharaohs of ancient Egypt definitely held to that saying. Throughout their lifetimes, they would acquire and acquire more stuff until at last they died, not being able to enjoy the fruit of their labors.
Not Taking Them With You
It is kind of sad if you think about it. Despite all their hard labor to acquire wealth, these men did not live long enough to enjoy it and their possessions were passed on to others who have not put forth the effort to acquire it. This is the fate of all people. In the end, even if you are wealthy or live modestly, we all go to the same place the pharaohs went; into the grave without being able to take our toys with us.
A Grievous Evil
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 6:2 NIV) The preacher understood that all wealth and honor were gifts given by God for people to enjoy them. However, he did not understand why God even bothers to do so, since a person can’t live long enough to enjoy them fully.
Even if a person was to live a long life, he is still unable to enjoy fully the wealth that he has acquired. That is because he desires to want more than he has; as the preachers explains: Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. (Ecclesiastes 6:7 NIV) He is not content with what God has given him already and so goes out to acquire more; but in his quest to do so, his life is cut short and the fruits of all his labors is passed on to somebody else.
Numbered By God
It seems unfair that people work hard to get things, but don’t get the chance to enjoy them. Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend with someone who is stronger. (Ecclesiastes 6:10 NIV) The days of our lives are numbered by God, as the preacher reminds us. Therefore there is no point in arguing or complaining about not being able to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Complaining is Futile
We would be wasting our time if we did complain to God about it. It would be like trying to command a river to stop flowing; it is pointless. With this in mind, since our time on this earth is so short and there is no point to acquiring stuff since we can’t enjoy it, what is the purpose of our existence?
The Purpose for God’s Gifts
In this brief life that we have, we must strive to seek something that is higher than the things we possess. We need to ask ourselves why God gives us the things we have, even though we can’t enjoy them fully. While it is true that the Lord gave us these gifts to enjoy them, the reason that God gives is not solely to enjoy the gift, but to enjoy the One who gave the gift.
A Human Example
Suppose you were given a very expensive gift from a dear friend or family member. When you get the gift, you are filled with joy. Not because of the item you received, but because the person you hold dear gave it to you. So that, as time goes on, as the gift’s allure begins to fade, you are still grateful for it because of the person who gave it to you.
Taken for Granted
We have taken many of the gifts that God has given to us for granted and as a result, we do not find satisfaction in them and labor to acquire more, only to be left emptier than before. Therefore, the next time the Almighty provides for you, be quick to give thanks for what He has given to you. As you do so, you will begin to appreciate what you have been given from the Lord and no longer strive for more.
Enjoy the Blessings
Is the desire for acquiring wealth and honor a bad thing? Certainly not, because such things come from the Lord. It is only when we love the wealth and honor more than the One who gave it to us that it becomes a problem. Therefore, give thanks to God as He blesses you with such things and don’t be greedy for more. Enjoy these blessings while you can, for you only live once.