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The Scriptorium

The Impossibility of Contentment

Ecclesiastes 6.9

9Better isthe sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire.
This also
isvanity and grasping for the wind.

The Story:Rehoboam’s problem was that he was coveting his father’s fame, wealth, and power.Covetousness is, in many respects, the gateway of all other sin. Whoever allows covetousness free rein in his soul will tumble through all kinds of temptations into the snares of sin (Jms. 1.13-15). That’s why, Solomon implies, it is better to be content with what one has than to let his appetite wander to the possessions of others (cf. 1 Tim. 6.6-10). An unbridled appetite can never be fully satisfied; it is like striving to catch the wind. However, even though Solomon over and over counsels contentment, he knows that men under the sun will not be able to achieve it. Should not their lack of contentment persuade them of the truth of our worldview?

The Structure: Even in confronting his son’s most essential problem – covetousness – Solomon shows himself to be a model of gentleness(2 Tim. 2.24). His approach is indirect, patient, and multi-faceted. He is trying by every means at his disposal to get Rehoboam to examine his motives and aspirations, and to consider the folly of his preferred course of life. In a secular and material age, such patient, gentle love for our neighbors must be part of our effort to lead them to their senses so that they may escape the grip of the father of lies and find their way to the truth that is in Jesus Christ.

How might you start a conversation with an unbelieving friend, in order to begin discovering some of that person’s foundational beliefs and convictions? Do you think one conversation alone will be enough to “bring him to his senses”? Did Solomon think that?

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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