I would like to suggest that two of the most popular dreams, or fantasies might be wealth and health (or long life). Since I do not know other people’s private thoughts I wonder how many of us have at some point entertained how awesome if would be to have a financial windfall come our way? Or at other times have dreamed about a long and healthy life? There is a more practical side to this desire and it is seen in regular practices that will bring us to this point of wealth and health. It is interesting that one of the wealthiest, most powerful and most blessed men in the Bible suggests that there is something better.
I confess that I have had those thoughts of winning it big. I have even spiritualized them as a Pastor thinking how awesome it would be if the church had an abundance of financial resources! I have had people express the first desire too. I have had those people tell me that when they win the lottery they are going to “get us our own building!” How nice would that be… yet I don’t see that happening. I often encourage them to not waste their money on lottery tickets and come back to reality. I think that we also fall prey to this short sighted thinking in the practical areas of our lives too. We invest in setting aside wealth and take practical steps to pursue healthy living which is something that all followers of Jesus should do. But we need to be careful to not place our trust in those things, or look to them as the source of happiness and meaning in our lives. Why? Because there is something better than wealth and health! It is wealth and health built on a trust is God, not a replacement for God.
Solomon touches on the emptiness of these two dreams in Ecclesiastes 6. You can listen to the message here. Solomon speaks to the short coming of wealth first by describing a person whom has gained it all. He then says this, “yet God rdoes not give him power to enjoy them” (Ecclesiastes 6:2b).What a sad statement. If the truth be told, wealth without God is very destructive. I remember back to several years ago, studying the impact of winning the lottery for a financial series. My heart broke after reading the testimony of numerous winners that stated it was the worst think that happened in lives. The windfall of money destroyed all areas of their lives. Now Solomon could speak from firsthand experience too.
Solomon also speaks to our dream, the fantasy of health or living a long and healthy life. He then questions the value of being blessed with a large family (a sign of wealth in that day) and living a long time. He states, in an almost morbid way, that these blessing without being about to enjoy then are no better than being still born!
The point that Solomon has made already in the previous contexts and later is that there is something better than wealth and health. This month I have been challenging our congregation to memorize “Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6) It is a reminder that we can focus on the wrong things (that are good) and miss God’s blessing each day.
So, let me ask you to honestly evaluate your focus in life. “Are you building your life around your relationship with God? Or is your relationship with God something that you are trying to fit in?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson