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The Scriptorium

All for Nothing

Ecclesiastes 6.1, 2

1There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This isvanity; it isan evil affliction.

The Story:Is Solomon musing autobiographically again (v. 1)? He had everything he could ever want but he found, too late in life, that none of it brought him enjoyment. Now he was about to turn it all over to his son (is he implying Rehoboam is more like a foreigner than a son?), and who could imagine what he would do with it all? God gives us good gifts to enjoy; however, we will only enjoy them when we see them as gifts from God, to be used for His glory, and not just as ends in themselves, to bring us the pleasure and joy only God can give (Ps. 16.11). Treat your things and experiences as the source and substance of your happiness, and they simply won’t deliver. Don’t glide by that last sentence. It is the greatest tragedy of human life to miss the fullness of blessing that God intends for us, whether by outright rebellion or by mistaking the source and substance of true joy.

The Structure:“Evil” is the first and last word in this thought. Solomon means it. It’s not just “too bad” that people don’t come to know the Lord; it’s an eternal tragedy, one that consigns them to misery here and now and unrelieved suffering hereafter. Perhaps, in this increasingly secular world, if we as believers saw the plight of our lost neighbors as “evil” holding them in its grip, we might be more moved to reach out to them with the love and Truth of Christ (2 Tim. 2.24-26). Even then, though, there are no guarantees: Rehoboam observed his father’s folly and saw the disappointment it brought him; however, not even this would be enough to convince him to repent.

Do you see the situation of your lost friends as an evil – not necessarily one of their making (that is, not that they’re evil), but evil nonetheless?

Each week’s studies in our
Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Are We Having Fun Yet?: Ecclesiastes 6,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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