“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19)

Solomon speaks against the foolishness of valuing wealth above all else. The person who trusts in wealth and all that it can provide and seeks it above all else will find no peace or satisfaction. Paradoxically, these are the very things we think money can grant us. In America our culture exalts the great American dream which usually involves having enough money to fulfill all our desires, a house, cars, gourmet food, and lavish and frequent vacations. In fact it seems from what we see in the media, seeking pleasure is one of the paramount goals of the American lifestyle. Many think that if they only had enough money and possessions they could retire early and live a life of luxury and ease. They could live free from all worries. 

As Solomon points out, this is vanity, a waste, chasing after the wind. He points out that the more we get, the more we want, and the more we have, the more we worry about protecting it. And the more we spend on things that we think will give us peace and pleasure, the more we discover that they do not. And so we seek after more and we waste our lives in pursuit of a mirage, a cruel and empty idol that we think will give us meaning and purpose but merely keeps us enslaved to our physical appetites as well as to doubt, fear and sin.

Such is the way of our culture, our world, and many Christians buy into this. But Solomon proposes a startling alternative. We are to be satisfied with what we have, enjoy our labor, our work and live a simple life. Such satisfaction is the gift of God as is what He gives us through our toil. Therefore the one who would be at peace in life should use what he has to glorify God. Although we may think life is all about ourselves, everything comes from Him and is to be used to build His Kingdom. Therefore, we really should thank God for His gifts and use them for His glory. After all He carried our sins to the cross so we might be forgiven and so inherit eternal life.