Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Toiling After Riches Meaningless?

The older I get the more death becomes a reality, I lapse into more moments of thinking that life is as meaningless as Solomon would imply. Why all the years of toil, if it is to be gone in a second? Even if you have something to leave your offspring, how long will it last them? Do they follow in the way that they should go so that all that they say and thing and do will glorify God? Will their inheritance be wasted away on trivial stuff - fleeting moments of pleasure rather than those things that will bring real joy (that is glorifying God)? Will they appreciate all the years that you spent earning and saving it for them?

This toiling after riches is meaningless.

"Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless.
As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
except to feast their eyes on them?

The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
permits them no sleep.

I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
there is nothing left for them to inherit.
Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
and as everyone comes, so they depart.
They take nothing from their toil
that they can carry in their hands.  (Eccl 5:10 - 15 NIV) 

That is not to say work is evil. We should work if we expect to eat. But, it becomes very bothersome, even a burden, when one works only to amass riches. Jesus told this story to a crowd who followed to listen to Him: 
 “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
  "Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.  And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
  “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God." Luke 12:17-21

Our work should bring joy to us as well as to others. Live life! Enjoy the life that God has given you! Whether it is in the hours you spend laboring or during the hours you are relaxing with your friends and family, life here on earth is to be lived and enjoyed. Life, abundant life, is a gift from God.

"This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart." (Eccl 1:18-20).

While you are yet making your journey through this world focus not on amassing wealth or power to the exploitation of others, but on living life so that God may be glorified.

And... may the peace and joy that is found in being in relationship with God, our Father and with one another, through His Son, Jesus the Christ, be with you always.  Pr. J

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