“I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces…” (Ecclesiastes 2:7-8)
Many of us assume that if only we had enough wealth to not have to work, we would be happy. Some workaholics might seek meaning in work, but many people bank on becoming so rich that they don’t have to work.
Many of us assume that we can buy happiness/meaning and purpose in our lives. But even if we had the finery of Solomon, like the flowers of the fields we would fade away. Even if we could afford to go to the best gigs and hear the greatest musicians the world can offer, it would never be enough.
And even if romantic love could be bought, it would never fulfil for more than fleeting moments.
Famously, when one fabulously rich man was asked how much money is enough, he replied, ‘just a little bit more’. Jesus’s teaching on money and wealth has been summarised as saying that Mammon (stuff) makes a great servant (if we use it to further the Kingdom of God), but a terrible master (if we slavishly seek satisfaction in it).
As Solomon said elsewhere, it’s better to have a slice of bread with peace and quiet than to have feasting where there’s conflict. Often the conflict in the greed for wealth is in our hearts. But as Paul would remind us, godliness with contentment is great gain.
‘Father God, may we look to You for our daily bread and to receive from You the Bread of life, Your Son in whom is satisfaction for our spiritual hunger. In His name we pray, amen.’