There's a very unusual butterfly whose scientific name is Maculinea arion. As a caterpillar, it exudes a sweet fluid that attracts a certain kind of ant. That ant will carry the caterpillar to its nest, where all the other ants sit around and feed on this sweet fluid -- all while the caterpillar feeds on baby ants. All throughout the winter, as these ants entertain their guest and drink the fluid, those baby ants are consumed, until the springtime, when the caterpillar can turn into a butterfly and fly away.
There are people who, like the ant, sacrifice everything for that sweet taste of stuff, of money. That's what Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 is all about. And when a guy like King Solomon, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, talks about money, it's worth listening to; Solomon's base salary back in the day amounted to over twenty million dollars per year.
The first point Solomon made about money is that prosperity will not satisfy. "He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase" (v. 10). Now, the Bible talks a lot about money, and I want to highlight a couple important truths. Number one: wealth is not evil. Paul wrote, "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Timothy 6:10); you can be poor and love money. Number two: God enables us to be productive. "It is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant" (Deuteronomy 8:18). The Bible praises hard, diligent work (see Proverbs 10:4; 13:4; 14:23). But we won't be satisfied with money because, as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11, God "has put eternity in [our] hearts." We're creatures made for an eternal substance, so material stuff will not satisfy.
Solomon brought up another point about money: productivity may ruin us (see vv. 13-15). The constant hoarding of wealth can ruin a person. You can lose something as quickly as you gain it -- that's why you need to have a light touch with stuff. Paul wrote to Timothy, "Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Timothy 6:9). The more you have, the more you have to lose. As Paul also wrote to Timothy, "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (1 Timothy 6:7). Once you die, it's over. "Do not overwork to be rich. ... Riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven" (Proverbs 23:4-5).
The last point Solomon gave us is that priority will preserve us. "It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage" (v. 18; see also vv. 19-20). If you have to work hard at that nine-to-five job to make ends meet, then make it count. Learn to enjoy the simple things in life. This may not sound biblical or spiritual, but loosen up and laugh. And whatever portion God has given you, say, "I'm going to make the best out of it. I'm going to enjoy it as a gift from God." Stay away from the "grass is greener" mentality. David said, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). Contentment speaks volumes to the unbelieving world.
As you evaluate your earnings, how much is enough? When is what you have enough? That last verse of Ecclesiastes 5 is a good motto: let God keep you busy with the joy of your heart. In fact, let God be the joy of your heart. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). If you have a relationship with God, He'll take care of you. He'll give you what you need.
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