Riches & Wealth
Contributed by Chris Beam on Apr 18, 2015 (message contributor)
Summary: In chapter 5, Solomon deals with the vanity of RICHES AND WEALTH.
RICHES & WEALTH
Last week we began series titled “Vanity”, a short survey of the book of Ecclesiastes. This is a book that often gets overlooked; it’s rarely ever preached from or studied, but it’s extremely important because it contains words of wisdom.
What is wisdom? Your first thought might be that wisdom is knowledge, but wisdom is actually much more than knowledge. It’s possible for a person to have a great deal of knowledge, but very little wisdom. You may even know some people like that, I know I do…They’ve got multiple degrees hanging on their wall but they lack what I like to call “good ole fashion common sense.” You see, the difference between wisdom and knowledge is that wisdom involves the practical application of the knowledge in which you possess.
Well, last week we began in chapter 2…discussing success and the importance of our work. Now, in chapter 5, Solomon deals with the vanity of RICHES AND WEALTH. Let’s begin by looking at…
I. The Politics of WRONGDOING (vv. 8-9)
Now, it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to figure out that we have corruption in our government. But I want you to know this morning, that corruption in the government is not a new thing. As a matter of fact, it was Solomon who said that “there is nothing new under the sun” (1:9). So ever since governments have been in existence, there’s been corruption.
Now you might be wondering, “Well if government is so corrupt, then why does it even exist?” The Bible tells us several things about government in Romans 13:1-4:
a.) Government was established by God Himself.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Rom. 13:1).
b.) When we rebel and resist to authority, we might as well tell God that we don’t trust in His sovereignty; we don’t believe that He’s in complete control.
Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves (Rom. 13:2).
c.) Government exists in order to punish those who do evil.
For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil (Rom. 13:4).
The point is, that government exists for our good. That’s what Solomon is talking about in verse 9 of our passage this morning when he tells us that a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land.
II. LAWS OF FINANCIAL WELL-BEING
Many people truly believe that if they were rich then all their problems would just suddenly disappear. You might even be sitting there thinking right now, “Well Preacher, I know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but at least I would be miserable in style."
a.) Law #1: Money doesn’t bring SATISFACTION.
Again, money doesn’t bring satisfaction. All you have to do is to look at the lives of the rich and the famous. They’re the most miserable people on earth. Every time you turn around they’re getting another divorce; they’re always wondering if the people closest to them are only after their money…and because of these things, they find themselves alone and empty. It’s ok though because they have a lot of money…WRONG!
Money doesn’t satisfy. If you’re living your life to pile up as much money as you can, you’re going to end up unsatisfied and restless. Your heart’s desire will never be filled apart from a relationship with God; He’s the only One who can bring you satisfaction in your life’s work.
b.) Law #2: Money doesn’t Last.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this natural law in your life or not, but I’ve seen it time and time again - Michele and I seem to have this God-given ability to always spend at least 10% more than we make. It doesn’t matter if we’ve quadrupled our income over the years, our spending always seems to match.
That’s what money does, it doesn’t last. You make more money, you spend more money. Story of my life.
Law #3: Money doesn’t bring Peace of Mind.
Here’s a fact that you can write down: Whatever you own, ends up owning you. The more you have, the more you have to worry about.
There’s a story about a man who was traveling by train across India. He placed his suitcase which was filled with $100 bills on the seat beside him. Throughout the night, he struggled to stay awake because he was afraid that if he fell asleep someone would steal his suitcase. He would find himself nodding off and his head would lower and jerk and then he would force his eyes open. This went on most of the night when finally, his eyes became heavy and he dozed off. A little bit later, he woke up only to find that the suitcase had indeed been stolen. "At last," he said with a yawn, "I can finally get some sleep."