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Circumstantial Contentment


By Benjamin H. Liles

          When goods increase, they increase who eat them; so what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes? ~ Ecclesiastes 5:11

          Sometimes I find myself feeling I want something a great deal. Is it really a need that has to be filled? Or am I just longing for something that doesn't bring fulfillment? A lot of scholars believe that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes where others refer to the writer as "the teacher." In this verse we find the writer is talking about how having "things" doesn't bring any kind of fulfillment.

          We can find ourselves doing or even wanting things that don't help us out a great deal. And in this sense it comes across as materialism. My wife and I enjoy watching crime shows, especially American Greed. It shows how the appetites of certain people bring them to ruin. And you almost get that sense with what this writer is saying in Ecclesiastes. 

          In the New Living Translation it reads as "The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth--except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!" Are any of us ever satisfied with what we have and learning to be content? I often chide myself for always "desiring" for more. It's kind of like seeing something and saying immediately, "Ooh, I want that!" But is it good?

          According to Paul, the apostle, "I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances" (Philippians 4:11, Berean Study). It seems that being content regardless of the circumstances is far better. We can't take those things we buy with us, so what use is of those items? To be content in whatever circumstance is of greater value.

          Father God, I thank You for the tender mercies which You give me daily. I thank You for how You sustain me in and with Your word. Thank You Jesus for developing my heart to be more content in and with You. Your words are truth and life to my weary soul. I need nothing but You and the words You give. These are life and they satisfy. In Jesus' name. Amen.