Summary: A rich life doesn’t come from riches, but from your ability to enjoy God’s blessings.

The Gift of Wealth or Enjoyment? Which is Best?

(Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:9)

1. Sam goes to the doctor for his yearly checkup. “Everything is fine”, said the doctor, “You’re doing OK for your age.” “For my age?” questioned Sam, “I’m only 75, do you think I’ll make it to 80? “Well” said the doctor, “do you like to go to social events, have people over and play games?” “No” Sam replied. “Do you eat fatty meat or sweets?” “No” said Sam “I am very careful about what I eat.” “How about your activities? Do you engage in thrilling behaviors like speeding or skiing? “No” said Sam taken aback, “I would never engage in dangerous activities.” “Well,” said the doctor, “then why in the world would you want to live to be 80? [, altered]

2. Some people make it through life, but don’t really enjoy life. They may endure it, or they may feel like they are doing their duty, being responsible, or paying bills, but they don’t enjoy life.

3. God gives us gifts and abilities besides the grace gifts we label “spiritual gifts,” which are a special category. Every breath is a gift. Our genes are a gift. In today’s text, when I speak about gifts, it refers to these sort of things.

4. There are two types of gifts in this section. We find the gift of being good at making money, and we find the gift of satisfaction or enjoyment. The gift of satisfaction is distinct from the gift of making money.

Main Idea: A rich life doesn’t come from riches, but from your ability to enjoy God’s blessings.

I. The Front Part: The Disappointment of WEALTH (8-17)

A. Government corruption should not SHOCK us (8-9).

According to CNBC, the most corrupt countries in the world are: Somalia: South Sudan

North Korea, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau, and Venezuela

The least corrupt countries are: Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway,

Singapore, Netherlands, Canada, Germany.

B. Seeing the poor suffering injustice should be no SURPRISE (8-9).

C. The rich are not necessarily HAPPIER than the poor (10-12)

1. Many studies have shown that once you get beyond a certain income level, happiness is not increased by getting more money. The most important factor: relationships.

2. In ancient times, some people made a simply living by day labor, shepherding, or a trade.

3. Others made more money as farmers, traders, merchants and businessmen. The first career choice provided the most steady income; the second provided a potential for wealth, but also a higher level of risk.

4. There is a difference between planning ahead to train for a career to make good money and being covetous or money hungry. Making money is no sin, it is the love of money that is a sin.

5. Paul’s teaching in I Timothy 6:10 might be a midrash on this text:“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

6. People who love money:

• Are not satisfied; they think they are looking for money, but they are really looking for security and importance. They also cannot believe others do not love money (rationalizing failure).

• As their enterprise grows, so do the number of employees (11)

• They end up stressed and suffer insomnia (12)

D. The rich are at risk of LOSING their riches (14-16)

• Jesus’ parable of the rich farmer, got all situated and died.

II. The End Part: The Wealthy Often Succeed in Business but FAIL at Life (6:1-8)

A. A better gift from God above wealth is the gift of ENJOYMENT (1-2)

A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. "How long did it take you to catch them?" the American casually asked.

"Oh, a few hours," the Mexican fisherman replied.

"Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" the American businessman then asked.

The Mexican warmly replied, "With this I have more than enough to meet my family's needs."

The businessman then became serious, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The fisherman answered, "I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, take a siesta, stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs..."

The American businessman interrupted, "Look, I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats."

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