Reading the Word
Ecclesiastes 6:1–6 (ESV)
1 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind:
2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.
3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.
4 For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered.
5 Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he.
6 Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?
Understanding and Applying the Word
Here we continue to read of the insufficiency of money and wealth to bring us fulfillment. We read of one who had all he desired, but was not able to enjoy what he had. He even had a large family and lived a long life, but was never satisfied. When he died, he was not remembered and he received no burial. Solomon tells us, “I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.”
A stillborn child never has to face the disappointments and cruelty of life. If there is not joy in a life that eventually ends in death, what is the point of it all? Solomon tells us that such a life is a great evil. The wonderful thing about life, even though it is filled with many difficulties, is that it has many wonderful and enjoyable aspects. We can enjoy our loved ones. We can take in the beauty of the created world. We can eat our favorite foods and gaze out at the stars at night. We can smell the flowers. There are so many things to enjoy, including the wealth that God gives us. Let us not forget to enjoy life. After all, it is a gift from God.
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