Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Seek First the Kingdom of God: Life Lesson from Solomon

I am reading through Ecclesiastes, and a thought came to me that this book is an expanded discourse on a portion of the Sermon on the Mount.  In Matthew 6:19-34, Jesus tells the people not to seek after the treasures of this world, because that treasure will not last and the effort leads you away from the Giver of all good things.  You serve the wrong master.  No longer are you trusting that the Almighty God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills to meet your need.  You worry about the lack and not remember what has been received, looking instead to make plans and expend effort improving your lot in life.  Jesus' solution for that problem is:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (Matt 6:33)
Solomon, the wealthiest and most powerful man on earth, pursued all he could and wrote from experience on the vanity of chasing after what the Lord would warn against on that mountainside centuries later—wealth, goods, wisdom, and many other things that are considered important by the world and our flesh—in order to achieve happiness and contentment.  Solomon's advice is:
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.  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.  For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.  (Eccl 5:18-20)
Notice the central theme of the two passages: God will give the desire of your heart if you stop chasing the wind and rest in His goodness.  Wealth and possessions are not the problem, the love of money is.  This malady is not restricted to an economic stratum.  Whatever one's income, there is a temptation to be more intent on gaining just a bit more in ignorance that the blessing of the Lord makes rich (Prov 10:22) and great gain comes from godliness with contentment (1 Tim 6:6).

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