Please pardon yesterday’s rant.
Today in our morning tea Bible study, we were looking at the idol of money and chatted about how we view money. I feel like it was a word especially for me today. I need to think about the implications.
Anyway, here’s the passage from Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 that we read:
Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless.
As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owner
except to feast his eyes on them?
The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether he eats little or much,
but the abundance of a rich man
permits him no sleep.
I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner,
or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when he has a son
there is nothing left for him.
Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb,
and as he comes, so he departs.
He takes nothing from his labor
that he can carry in his hand.
This too is a grievous evil:
As a man comes, so he departs,
and what does he gain,
since he toils for the wind?
All his days he eats in darkness,
with great frustration, affliction and anger.
Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
This last paragraph is what resonated especially with me. It is good and proper to find satisfaction in our labour…in fact, it’s a gift from God! So I think addressing the things that are making me unhappy and discontent is a wise thing to do.
Would you agree? Have I taken this completely out of context?
The ‘ponder’ question in the Bible study was “Consider the way you work, spend and save. What does this say about your attitude to money?” That has given me a lot to think about too. Am I working for God’s glory, or to earn a lot of money, or to be acclaimed in my field? Am I content with what God has given me, or am I always desperate for more? Am I trusting God, or relying on my own ability to provide? Am I using what I have to grow God’s kingdom, or am I trying to keep it to myself?
We had an interesting discussion about the Mennonite community that Howard visited while he was in Canada (the Amish are an offshoot of the Mennonites). He was impressed at how they were so community-minded and Bible-based, and how, without the influence of TV, radio and the internet, they were much more content and weren’t constantly craving more material goods. Then Jess said “But how does that spread the gospel?” and Howard agreed that it was a very closed community and they did not want contact with non-Mennonites at all, if they could help it. So in fact, although they say are basing their entire community on the Bible, they are missing a major point of it, which is that we are supposed to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).
I’m not quite sure what my conclusion is here, but it’s good to have these things to think about, so I’m not just dwelling on the negatives that came up for me yesterday. Hopefully by the time I have my meeting on Friday I will have a much clearer view of what I want to discuss.