Ecclesiastes 5:19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God.
Solomon had wisdom in a sense, but I think his biggest problem was that he never put it into an eternal context. He looked at everything from the standpoint of physical life, and as Paul said, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) It is the eternal perspective that can give us peace and joy regardless of our circumstances. That’s why the New Testament talks so much about hope. As again Paul said, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?” (Romans 8:24) Solomon didn’t have that perspective, and that not only made his writing depressing, it opened him up to being deceived into idolatry. I had long thought it was Nate Saint who said it, but I believe it was his fellow martyr Jim Elliot who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” We can’t keep anything material, as Solomon laments a few verses before this, but if we develop a vital relationship with our Creator, we have that for eternity. As Solomon says here, it is indeed a gift of God to be able to enjoy what we have here, but we must not let that distract us from the reality that compared with eternity, even a lifespan of 100 years is very brief. We need to organize our priorities accordingly.
This is certainly applicable right now with my wife’s physical situation. Hospitalized over an hour away, she has her good times and she has some times of intense pain, as she did just a few minutes ago. We are physically separated, which neither of us is happy about, but we do have the connection of cell phones. We have her getting out of the hospital to look forward to, but more than that, we have an eternity of fellowship, not only with each other but especially with our Lord, to put everything into perspective. It can certainly be difficult at times, but we need to remember that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Father, thank You for this extremely timely reminder. Thank You that I can take some things to Cathy after my nursing school class this morning. I do ask that you enable us to see each other today, but even if we can’t, I pray that we would both be able to release everything to You and rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!