Ecclesiastes Devotional Guide: Week 5
*Every week during our 12 week series in the book of Ecclesiastes we will post a devotional guide that week for the passage that was preached on the most recent Sunday. We encourage you to engage this book of the Bible more fully by walking through this devotional each week after having listened to the sermon on Sunday.*
What are your thoughts toward money and possessions? Do they seem to mean everything to you, providing you with a certain lifestyle you crave? Are they a means to fulfill some deep longing in your heart for comfort, ease, security, or pleasure? Do you want to be rich so that you can buy nice things to impress others? Is gaining wealth important to you because then others will view you as successful or a self-made man or woman? These are important questions to ask ourselves because Jesus tells us that our relationship to money is indicative of the deepest desires of our hearts (Matt. 6:21). And the deepest desires of our hearts are reflective of our relationship toward God. How we desire, make, and spend money can often reveal where our hope and trust truly lie: God or wealth.
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12 discusses these topics and shows us the futility of looking to money to satisfy our deepest longings. Having money is a great gift from God, but it is no place to put our hope. As our bank account increases so do our cares, worries, and problems (Eccl. 5:10-12), tragedy can strike at any time and we could lose everything (Eccl. 5:13-14), whatever we make and whatever we buy cannot be taken with us when we die—we were born with nothing and we will die with nothing (Eccl. 15-17), there are no guarantees that just because we make money that we will be able to spend it or enjoy it (Eccl. 6:1-6), and, ultimately, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income” (Eccl. 5:10). Wealth is a great gift but a terrible god.
The only way to be rightly related to money and possessions, and to truly be able to enjoy them in this world, is by first and foremost looking to Christ and being satisfied in Him. Money, possessions, and the things of this world are incapable of satisfying the longing for eternity that is in each of our hearts (Eccl. 3:11). Only Jesus can do that. Once we are reconciled to God through faith in Christ, receive full, abundant life, and place our trust and hope in Him alone, we are able to recognize that all God has given us in this life are gifts from a good heavenly Father and are to be enjoyed for His glory (Eccl. 5:18-20). And we can only truly enjoy God’s gifts when we are satisfied in the Gift giver. When we are satisfied in the person and work of Jesus Christ we are not overwhelmed by the cares and worries of this fallen world but are able to live every day with abundant joy because Jesus has satisfied our every longing and desire (Eccl. 5:20). He is with us throughout all of the ups and downs of life and enables us to approach every circumstance with contentment (Phil. 4:12-13) and joy.
And once we stop looking to money to do for us what only Christ can do for us, we are freed up to enjoy and spend our money for God’s glory! We can rejoice that He provides for our families, allows us to experience and enjoy the good things of His creation, share our goods with others in the name of Christ, and even give our money and possessions away for the cause of Christ and the advancement of the gospel. We no longer have to have a greedy desire for wealth, nor do we have to fear it thinking, “What would wealth do to me? Would the cares and responsibilities of riches crush me? Would money lead me away from Jesus?” When we are satisfied in the one true God the counterfeit gods of this world lose their allure, and we are able to see money and all things as an opportunity to further know and worship Christ.
Do you think you are related to money and possessions in a healthy way? Why or why not?
What (if anything) are you looking to money to do for you or satisfy in you that only can only be truly fulfilled in Jesus?
What would your life look like being absolutely satisfied in Christ alone? How can you prayerfully take steps toward that?
What would it look like for you to grow as a good steward of your money and possessions for God’s glory?
1 Timothy 6:3-19
Forego a normal weekly pleasure this week (a cup of coffee, a fast food run, a movie, etc.) and intentionally use that money in a way that glorifies God (giving to your church, supporting a missionary or missions agency, donating it to someone in need, using it to buy someone’s coffee or lunch and spend intentional, quality time with them, etc.). Reflect on the significance of this act. Giving up something shows that while God gives us good gifts in life, we ultimately need Jesus above all else—He provides for us and satisfies us. Using the money in an intentional way to glorify God shows that our entire lives are given to us by Him and we are merely stewards. We are to do all things to His glory (1 Cor. 10:31).