Use It, or Lose It!

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 7:49 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, I am Resting, Resting.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ecclesiastes 6 (ESV).

Wealth and Possessions (vv. 1-6)

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?

Some people have been blessed with wealth – either materially and with many possessions, or with knowledge and understanding, or with natural talent and much giftedness. They may have been given many aptitudes for many things. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are blessed with the riches of God’s grace, not only in our salvation from sin, but with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, and in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. We have been forgiven our sins, delivered from slavery to sin, given new lives in Christ Jesus, to be lived to his righteousness, and indwelt and empowered with the Holy Spirit, and granted eternal life with God (See: Eph. 1:1-14). God gives good gifts to his children (Matt. 7:11; Jas. 1:17).

But, what matters is not what we have, but what we do with what we have. Great wealth, talent, and knowledge means nothing if it is not used for good purposes, or if it is not shared with those who are in need, or with those who may benefit from it in some way. It also means nothing if it is amassed for future purposes, but the person dies before he gets to put it to good use, and especially if he has no heirs, and strangers then get his wealth. Or, if his country is conquered by a foreign entity and he loses it all, and the conquerors then take possession of it. He should have shared it with others while he still had it, for what good is it if an enemy now takes possession of it?

He may also lose it, too, because God takes it away, because he didn’t use it for good, to benefit others, but he squandered his wealth and just used it for his own selfish purposes. And, this can be true of spiritual blessings and giftedness, too. Many people have been given the gift of salvation, and, perhaps, initially they produced fruit in keeping with repentance, or seemed to, but since then they have gotten caught up in the world of sin, or have become lazy and complacent, and they are living their lives wholly for their own self-pleasure. Maybe they initially received the gospel message with joy and with enthusiasm, but as time went on, they went back to their old ways of living for sin and self, and they have forgotten that salvation means death to sin and living to righteousness. They are also ignoring all the warnings in scripture regarding how we will reap what we sow, and instructions which teach that our spiritual walk, or lack thereof, determines our eternal destiny.

Never Satisfied (vv. 7-9)

All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

The things of this world will never satisfy us. They are like eating a meal. Hours later we need to eat again. They are also a lot like water that only temporarily satisfies our thirst, for then we get thirsty again, and then we need more. The treasures of this life do bring some temporary satisfaction and pleasure (enjoyment), but they are temporal. They are not lasting. One day they will all perish, too. But, since they are only temporarily satisfying, it is human nature to keep wanting more, thinking if we just have this or that, now we will be happy, but they never truly make us happy. And, some of them come with great debt because people buy what they can’t afford, and thus they come with a great financial burden, too. Or else they come with enormous responsibility, and thus they take a great amount of our time, money and energies just keeping them maintained, and for what?

When I think of the wandering of the appetite, it is not just in wanting more possessions, or more food than what we need to eat (to live), but it is going outside the boundaries of our covenant relationships with God or with our spouses. It is not being satisfied with what we have, or with the marriage covenant, or with God alone, and it is going after “other lovers,” thinking they will satisfy the deep longings of our souls. Yet, these are all just empty cisterns full of holes.

Regarding marriage, this adultery can take place via the mind only, lusting after those who are not our own, but it can also involve viewing pornography, and sexually charged movies, TV shows, and books or magazines, too. It can, as well, involve extramarital relationships, that may begin seemingly innocent enough, but which may lead to romantic and/or sexual relationships. As well, private chats or texts with people of interest with whom you might have intimate conversations, especially without the knowledge or approval of your spouses, and behind their backs, is another form of adultery and a “wandering appetite.”

Sovereignty of God (vv. 10-12)

Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

God knows the end from the beginning. He knew before he even created man that he would sin against him. He knew before we were even formed in the wombs of our mothers who we would become, what we would do, and whether or not we would believe in him. But, it is more than just knowing these things in advance. For those of us who know Jesus, or who will yet believe in him, God chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight. He chose us even before the creation of the world (Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4). All the days ordained for me were written in God’s book before one of them came into being (Ps. 139:13-16; cf. Jeremiah 1:4-5). God placed me in the womb of my mother, so he chose the home I would be raised in, even knowing the good, bad and the ugly of it all, because he made me who I am so he could use me in the way he is using me, and all for his glory!

The point here, also, is that there is no point trying to go our own way, or to resist God, because his word will stand true, and he will do what he says he will do. What we sow, that will we also reap. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars. If we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, even if we profess to believe in Jesus Christ. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. If we persist and insist on going our own way, and continuing in willful and unrepentant sin against God, and we make a practice of doing what is wicked, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment.

One other thing here is that it says, the more words, the more vanity. This is not saying that we have to be people of few words, though there is wisdom in that, at times, when we say more than is necessary, or more than we should. Yet, what this makes me think of is how words can be cheap if not accompanied by action. If a man or a woman proclaims to love his or her spouse but he or she cheats on the spouse and then covers it up with lies, they should not call it love, for it is not love. If we proclaim to know and to love God, as well, but we cheat on God with “other lovers,” i.e. with the gods of this world, and we go our own way, and we do what we want, and we think we are ok if we keep sinning, and we think obedience is not required, then all is vanity! Because, our expressions of love are vain, because they are just words.

So, we should not take God and his grace for granted. We should be satisfied with where he has us, what he has us doing, and with the blessings he has bestowed upon us, unless he moves us to something else, according to his plans and purposes for our lives. We should not wander outside our covenant relationships with God or with spouse, but we should be faithful in all that we do, think, speak and are (in character). If God has gifted us and has given us wealth, knowledge, talent, salvation, and spiritual gifts, we should use them for his glory, and for the benefit of others, and not hoard them to ourselves, or to use them only for our own pleasure. But, we should rest in the Lord, believe what he says, do what he shows us, go wherever he sends us, and use what he gives us – all for his glory!

Jesus, I am Resting, Resting
Jean Sophia Pigott

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

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