Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of July 30, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Ecclesiastes 5:8-20, “The Love of Money.” Money can be a sensitive issue but it is an important one at the same time. Money itself is not evil or wrong, it is a God given resource; however, the love of money and the desire of it, is evil. So, let us seek the Lord this morning with our tithe and our resources that He might draw us closer to Him. The Bible teaches us that money itself isn’t evil, but that the love of it is. That love for money can turn into envy, jealousy, and covetousness, which is sin. The love for money can become extremely dangerous, risky, and harmful. Not just to ourselves, but to those around us, those close to us. Why is the love of money so dangerous?
1) The love of money is dangerous because it steals from others. (vv.8-9) 8 If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields. King Solomon talks about an oppression of the poor and violation of justice. The word used for oppression can be translated as robbery, which evokes the idea of injustice and the oppression done to others. The legitimate rights of the oppressed are being snatched away by those in power. In verse 8, those in power are the high officials referring to someone in the government. However, in the midst of oppression, Solomon does make a hopeful reference. God is higher than all of these officials and politicians. He is the ultimate leader of every politician so that the land should be used to the benefit every person, not a select few. Back then it was common understanding that the land was a shared inheritance. They knew their means of economic survival was given to them by God. It was all from God in heaven, from Yahweh. Yet here, it was being disrespected, and it was being abused by those in authority and in power. What are we doing with the resources God has given to us? Is it all for our own consumption and enjoyment? Am I just a consumer or am I a giver? Am I lover of money or am I loving others with my money? God gives us things to share. God doesn’t gives us things to hold. Let us live to give, not to hoard.
2) The love of money is dangerous, because it never satisfies. (vv.10-12) 10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. Solomon shifts his focus from the unjust gain of money to those who pursue wealth at any cost. He explains how the love of money doesn’t bring fulfillment in life. A person will never have enough. There is always something that a person wants more of. There is never a complete satisfaction with possessions, toys, retirement account, or credit. Solomon again uses that famous word, vanity. Its root word is vapor, a picture of something that is gone in a second. It is meaningless to pursue wealth as one’s purpose in life. Money is a fleeting reason to live for and it will only lead to one’s demise. So much so that when you gain wealth, all you will want is more wealth. More, more, and more. The pursuit of wealth takes on a life of its own and can control a person. It will swallow you up if you aren’t careful. In verse 12, Solomon describes a wealthy person who can’t sleep. He is up all night afraid to lose his money. Fearful and anxious, always wondering how he will keep it or gain more. The desire for money can lead to other dangers like depression, sleeplessness, hunger, and anxiety disorder. It’s scary how the love of money can become a downward spiral for many. Let us submit and let go of the worldly things we’re holding onto. Let us treasure and cherish our greatest possession, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
3) The love of money is dangerous because it shatters families. (vv.13-16) 13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger. There is another shift in this passage. This last reason why money is so dangerous, Solomon calls it a grievous evil. His tone increases in objection to the love of money and what we can do. In verse 14, he describes a father who hoards his riches, and he ultimately hurts himself and his family. He has a bad business ordeal which has gone south and his pursuit of his business venture has taken away what is most precious to him. He has nothing left to give to his son. For all his hard work, all his long hours, all his pain and toil, there is nothing left. Just as he came into the world as a baby with nothing, so he has nothing left to give his children. This is not just evil, but it is a grievous evil. Greed has shattered his family and his son.
Now that we have seen the problems of the love of money and the dangers of loving money, the question becomes, what’s the solution? …See everything as a gift. See everything as God’s grace, His unmerited favor upon us. We don’t earn, work or deserve anything that He gives to us. It is all gifted to us from the Lord. (vv.18-20) 18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart. In the beginning of Ecclesiastes, Solomon saw everything under the sun, all things in life as meaningless, vanity. There was no meaning for hard labor in life. It was pointless to continue to work so hard. Now King Solomon seems to have wised up from what He’s said before. He now sees that there is a benefit to toil under the sun. There is meaning found in God and his work. (v.18) With the few days of his life that God has given him, he counts them as precious gifts from God. This brings a person great joy in life to know that he or she has a purpose to live for GOD, not money. The Westminster confession says it so well, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Our main purpose and goal in life is not fixed on a bank accounts, salaries, allowances, home size, video game collection, etc. It is based on nothing from ourselves, but everything from our God and for our God in order that we might enjoy and love and have fun with the greatest person alive, Jesus Christ.
Thank you Ramon West for the Children’s Message about receiving and enjoying everything from God just as you would your favorite ice cream. Not hording it but enjoying it because it is a gift from God.
Enjoy life in Jesus Christ, Stan, for SLZJCC