As a young man, Duncan had been afraid of not having enough money, so in his early twenties, he began ambitiously building his future. Climbing the ladder at a prestigious Silicon Valley company, Duncan achieved vast wealth. He had a bulging bank account, a luxury sports car, and a million-dollar California home. He had everything he desired; yet he was profoundly unhappy. “I felt anxious and dissatisfied,” Duncan said. “In fact, wealth can actually make life worse.” Piles of cash didn’t provide friendship, community, or joy—and often brought him only more heartache.
Some people will expend immense energy attempting to amass wealth in an effort to secure their lives. It’s a fool’s game. “Whoever loves money never has enough,” Scripture insists (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Some will work themselves to the bone. They’ll strive and push, comparing their possessions with others and straining to achieve some economic status. And yet even if they gain supposed financial freedom, they’ll still be unsatisfied. It’s not enough. As the writer of Ecclesiastes states, “This too is meaningless” (v. 10).
The truth is, striving to find fulfillment apart from God will prove futile. While Scripture calls us to work hard and use our gifts for the good of the world, we can never accumulate enough to satisfy our deepest longings. Jesus alone offers a real and satisfying life (John 10:10)—one based on a loving relationship that’s truly enough!
The book of Ecclesiastes wrestles with whether human beings can experience anything of lasting meaning or value in their lives. “Qohelet,” the primary speaker (often translated “the Teacher” or “the Preacher,” 1:1), even implies God has played a cruel trick on humanity—setting “eternity” in their hearts (3:11) while making it impossible to ever grasp the eternal or hidden meaning behind life (6:12; 8:7; 9:9).
In chapter 5, Qohelet looks at people’s attempt to find satisfaction in wealth and discovers that their cravings are never satisfied, no matter how much they acquire (5:8–12). Others, through exploitation by the powerful or through poor choices, find themselves trapped in poverty (vv. 13–17). Qohelet seems to find a partial solution in verses 18–20. There he suggests that peace is experienced through letting go of the need to understand or control the realities of life and instead embracing the joys God has woven into our experiences on earth.
To learn more about the book of Ecclesiastes, visit bit.ly/2LTliP7.