I have been thinking about Ecclesiastes 5 this week. We studied this chapter in last week's Young Adult Bible Study (affectionately named, "Way Cool Small Group." *smile*)
"Whoever loves money never has 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." Eccl. 5:10-12
This whole chapter is just full of thoughts to contemplate! But this little section strikes me because it tells me:
1. No matter what I have, it will never feel like enough if I give my love to money.
2. The more you have the more you spend. Then you have all this *stuff* to care for and what good is it all?
3. Having *much* is not all it is *cracked up to be*. More stuff, more money brings more headaches.
I am reading this great little book called, "The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving," by Randy Alcorn.
This is a great book and I highly recommend it. A friend asked me, out of the blue, if I would like to read it. Since I had been praying about our finances and even our giving, it seemed like God had put it right in my hands at the right time! Don't you love when God does this?
Consider these quotes Mr. Alcorn shares on pg. 52-53 (and in the same chapter he talks about Eccl. 5!):
"The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it." W.H. Vanderbilt
"I am the most miserable man on earth." John Jacob Astor
"I have made millions, but they have brought me no happiness." John D. Rockefeller
"Millionaires seldom smile." Andrew Carnegie
"I was happier when doing a mechanic's job." Henry Ford
We've all heard that "money doesn't buy happiness." These millionaires seem to bare the truth of it in their own lives. So what is the secret? I think *contentment in our God* is the secret!
"Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possesions, 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." Eccl. 5:19-20
The key to happiness is wrapped up in our relationship to God and contentment with what comes from his hand.
When we live on more than God has given us, it quickly chokes us. When we have wealth but do not lay it at the Master's feet, recognizing that it has come from him, we choke on it. It keeps us up at night. Better to gratefully accept what God has given and bend our neck to follow his leading on how to use it. It's all his, after all.
This year I pray God will help me to learn to live on less, to be more content. We're making changes, not because we don't trust God to provide (we do!), but we want to live *more in* that provision and free ourselves to serve God more.
I really don't want my husband to bear unnecessary strain about our finances. I don't want to put a financial noose around his neck. What may feel like a tightening (in our budget) is actually a loosening (not feeling the strain of thinking you have to stay at *this* job or can't follow *this pursuit* for fear of the noose tightening).
It seems like the biggest task for Americans is decluttering. We gather, then have to declutter, then we regather and redeclutter. It's madness! I am stopping that train and getting off it...I pray for good!