Enjoying Prosperity is the Gift of God (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

I almost got into a fight today. It was at the Pilot gas station on Halfway BLVD.

A man was filling his very nice vehicle a couple of pumps away, as his noticeably pretty wife (or whatever) was returning to the car from having been inside the building. He began yelling in an arguing sort of tone with extreme anger. It seemed to have something to do with spending money. His foul language increased more and more as his finished gassing the vehicle and drove away … past me with his window open and the ranting continuing.

I just impulsively said, “Yo dude, calm it down … it’s going to be alright … nothing can be this bad.”  He made a particular gesture toward me I can’t really describe in this setting, slowed down and addressed me with some words I cannot report as well. For a moment, I thought it might be “game on.”  But he drove away … yelling.

Here was a guy with some nice things in life. His car was certainly better than my 2001 minivan. But he was not enjoying his blessings.

We often see people in life who have a lot of blessings, but who also don’t seem to be able to enjoy them. Perhaps they feel their blessings are really not as significant as they actually are, aspiring to greater gains like they observe in the lives of certain others. We know also of people who do well, but all they do is work and strive for even more, as their job owns them.

If you think about it, happiness in life and work is not directly proportionate to the amount of gain that comes from it. Rather, the happiest people are those who find contentment in the use of the abilities that they have, being content also with the adequate life that God enables them to enjoy as a result – be it in abundance, sufficiency, or in meager circumstances. They accept their work and life as from God, believing also that He will supply their needs.

Solomon calls this the gift of God …

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 – This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

People like this do not regret and grieve the past, nor do they worry about the future. They live in thankfulness that God has been good to meet their daily needs at whatever social strata he had given them.

The New Testament passage of relative equivalence would be in Philippians 4:4-7 … Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we rest in God and in His gifts, we get also the gift of rest from Him.

Another New Testament writer says (Hebrews 13:5) … Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”