Do you find your treasure in the things of this earth or in eternal life?
1I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
If you compare the story of Ecclesiastes with the story of Job, you could say that they are two sides of the same coin. The story of Job is all about a guy who is driven to despair because he loses everything. But the story of Ecclesiastes is all about a guy who is driven to despair – because he has everything. They are two sides of the same coin.
And in Ecclesiastes, The Teacher is a man with a lot of coin. We’re told he has great wealth. He uses his wealth and all the resources at his fingertips in order to “see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.” (1:3) And how does that work out for him?
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (1:11)
In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, he talks about a life of chasing earthly treasures. And he says that if that’s how you track your life – then life will be disappointing. Because earthly treasure won’t last. So Jesus says,
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:20-21)
As I search my own heart, I realize the times where I’ve bought into the lie that earthly treasures are what my soul needs most in order to be satisfied. It’s the lie that says, if you want to be happier in life then all you need is a little more of what you already have.
But The Teacher in Ecclesiastes shows us how this is an endeavour that is chasing after the wind. And that’s why Jesus tells us to store up treasures in heaven, which means trusting that God will provide your needs, and giving thanks that the greatest treasure you could ever have is found in Jesus – and the eternal life he won for you at the cross.
Head: How does the cross give your life perspective on the value of earthly things?
Heart: How does it make you feel knowing that Jesus, in giving us eternal life, has made us rich? (Grow Deeper – read 2 Cor. 8:9)
Hands: What could you do to use the things you have in order to serve others, and serve God?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you that my greatest treasure is found in Jesus, and that this came to me at the cost of Jesus’ blood which was shed for me. Thank you that Jesus’ death has purchased life for me. Father, I pray that you would help me to treasure this most precious gift, by the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Must See Passages series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.