Welcome back to our study of Ecclesiastes!
As you study this book, you realise the teacher is giving us secrets to enjoy our life. He is attempting to answer the question:
How do we live a successful, fulfilled life when life is hard and unpredictable?
Secret number 1 was to accept the march of time – to accept that immediate things need doing, yet we are designed for the infinite!
We are now going to explore another secret!
The teacher encourages us to enjoy life whilst we have breath in our bodies! Because ‘the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both’ (3:19), and he reminds us again that ‘everything is hevel’ – a vapour, which is passing and short, our ‘days are like a fleeting shadow’ (Psalm 144:4).
Yet we pursue riches and gain, we pursue money and are never satisfied, we amount material possessions but to what end, so we live in fear that we may just lose it all anyway! The psalmist also knew this all too well when he wrote:
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
The span of my years as nothing before me.
Everyone is but a breath,
Even those who seem secure.
Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
In vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
Without knowing whose it will finally be
So the teacher reminds us that ‘everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart, they take nothing from their toil that they carry in their hands’ (5:15). Whether we are wise or foolish, rich or poor, we all begin life with nothing and we will end with nothing.
And these truths can bring us joy and fulfillment…
So what’s the secret?
In verse 5:19-20, the teacher tells us that not only are our wealth and possessions gifts from God, but God also gives us the ability to enjoy them. To accept such a gift from God means we can be content with our lives and how much we have, that we aren’t overwhelmed by the lack of days we have left because the Lord has given us gladness of heart. How beautiful! That we can ask God to give us the gift of enjoying what we have. We don’t have to strive and work hard and tell ourselves not to stress, in order to enjoy life we just need to ask for God’s help!
Maybe this was Paul’s secret when he wrote to the Philippians:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
OVER TO YOU
Read chapter 5 again, which verse sticks out to you?
Pray and ask God to give you the ability to enjoy life.
Join us on 02/09/19 for the next installment.