Ecclesiastes 5 13-20
Pause & Reflect
What gets in the way of you being happy? Perhaps it is not having enough time, enough space, or enough money. Perhaps it is something else altogether.
13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
14 or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
there is nothing left for them to inherit.
15 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.
16 This too is a grievous evil:
As everyone comes, so they depart,
and what do they gain,
since they toil for the wind?
17 All their days they eat in darkness,
with great frustration, affliction and anger.
18 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 labour under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 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. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.
There always seems to be another bill to pay, another expense, another thing to buy…all costing money. Whether we work or are retired, what we do with our money has a great impact on our lives. There are times where there doesn’t seem to be enough and there are times where you can put something by for a rainy day. There are times when it feels like you are working to live and times where you feel you are living to work.
The challenge for us today is to put God in front of all those needs, worries and feelings. The passage tells us that we come into this world with nothing and leave the same way, so clearly we need to consider the bit in the middle. How many times do we make a decision without prayer? How much time do we spend worrying without telling God about our problems? How many tasks do we complete without thinking of our heavenly Father?
Let’s make a change. For the rest of this week let us all try and make a real effort to prayer before making decisions and spending money, to talk to God whenever we feel the dreaded sense of worry or unease creep upon us. Perhaps even more of a challenge, let’s try and praise God through our work, jobs and toils. Focus on our creator, work with praise in our hearts, and strive to do the best we can as if doing it for our Father in Heaven.
Let’s make the most of the middle bit, not let ourselves dwell in the past, worry about the future, or get tied up in earthly pursuits. Let’s root our happiness in and around God and see what changes in our lives – because, after all, our happiness is found in God, and not with our earthly toil, worry or wealth.
Lord God, we thank you for the blessings all around us and we are truly sorry for not putting you first in all we do. Please guide us to happiness in you, and help us not to focus on the wrong things. Fill our hearts with gladness in all we do. In Jesus name, Amen.