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The Word in the World

The Word in the World – How much is enough? (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12)

Today’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 5-8

Today’s Reflection: Ecclesiastes 5:10-12

10) He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11) When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12) Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

Today the divide between the rich and the not-rich, the haves and the have-some, or have-nots, the 1% (not to mention the 0.1%) and the 99%, is greater and more publicly visible than it has ever been.  Those who have wealth in this world have shown themselves, generally, to be stubbornly reluctant to part with it under any conditions, whether to contribute a fair share for tax purposes, or to contribute to the needs of the world.  In fact they spend considerable amounts to influence government policy, unions and other organizations to allow the corporations they own and control free reign to do whatever is necessary to make and increase profits, regardless of the negative consequences for the world (oil spills, deforestation, ozone layer depletion, jobs that promote sedentary lifestyles proven to be harmful to long term health).  Yes, the rich contribute millions to charities, NGOs, and development aid around the world but this money a) comes with hidden loopholes and conditions, and b) pales in compared to the trillions existing in private wealth.

And yet, the wealthy still want more.

The focus of financial and economic reporting is always on growth.  How much of it, or not enough of it.  Bigger profits, higher productivity, greater efficiency, increased GDP are accepted to be the only economic ‘good’.  No matter how much the wealthy have, they’re never satisfied with it.  The only thing they understand is more.

There is no such thing as ‘enough’.

Solomon, one of the wealthiest men who ever lived spoke about this many centuries ago, the vanity of the wealthy who are unsatisfied even with their great wealth.  And he went on to say that this attitude is a highly destructive one.

Instead the attitude of all people, whether wealthy or not, should be one of gratitude, regardless of our circumstances or station.  In fact even recent studies are finding that gratitude is essential to success.  Here’s a quote from business author Geoffery James in INC. Magazine:

“People who lack gratitude are never truly happy. If they succeed at a task, they don’t enjoy it. For them, a string of successes is like trying to fill a bucket with a huge leak in the bottom. And failure invariably makes them bitter, angry, and discouraged.”

Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 – 18) Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19) Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.

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