Ecclesiastes 5:10-6:12; 2 Corinthians 7:2-7; Psalms 48:1-8; Proverbs 14:28-29
OT: “Here is what I have seen to be good: It is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward. Furthermore, everyone to whom God has given riches and wealth, he has also allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God, for he does not often consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 CSB)
Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon stated his conclusion that one of the few good things that can be found in this brief life on earth is to truly enjoy the blessings of the Lord and the fruits of our labor. Solomon stated that sentiment here in the 5th chapter, after acknowledging that the pursuit of riches and material goods does not bring true joy and satisfaction – and is in fact an exercise in futility. The love of money and worldly possessions is empty and meaningless.
Earlier in Solomon’s life, he wrote, “The Lord’s blessing enriches, and He adds no painful effort, hardship or sorrow to it (Proverbs 10:22).” Solomon practically echoed those thoughts here by writing that when God blesses someone, He allows them to enjoy the blessings and rejoice in the results of their faithful labor. When our hearts are occupied first and foremost with the word, will and ways of the Lord, we won’t waste our time pursuing the empty and meaningless secondary things of the world. The only way to find true joy and lasting satisfaction is to occupy our hearts with the things that God our Lord has given us to do – and in doing the things He gives us, we will be richly blessed by the Lord and will be able to lay our heads down every night in comfort and satisfaction.
NT: “In fact, when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest. Instead, we were troubled in every way: conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his arrival but also by the comfort he received from you. He told us about your deep longing, your sorrow, and your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.” (2 Corinthians 7:5-7 CSB)
Near the beginning of this letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul wrote of how he sent Titus to Corinth with a sharply-worded and painful letter. He then wrote of how we went to Troas in order to meet up with Titus and get a report of how the letter was received. When Titus failed to show up in Troas, Paul was deeply concerned and wasn’t even able to minister. He then left Troas for Macedonia, greatly troubled. Paul then picked up the story where he left off here in Chapter 7. When he and his travel companions reached Macedonia, they were troubled in every way – but then Titus arrived and everything changed. Paul went from downcast and troubled to comforted and rejoicing. What was it that brought Paul so much joy? Titus brought word that the Corinthian church had repented of their actions and were willing to be reconciled and restored to Paul. Paul didn’t find joy and satisfaction in riches or his accomplishments. He found joy and satisfaction in knowing that God’s kingdom would continue to flourish in Corinth and that the people he thought were lost would now be reconciled and restored. Walking in obedience to God’s call was challenging, but as Paul kept himself occupied with the things of God, Paul’s efforts in the Lord brought great fruitfulness, true joy and lasting satisfaction.
Prayer: Lord, Your word teaches that godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6). It also teaches that if I take my delight in You, then You will give me the things that my heart truly desires (Psalm 37:4). Lord, help me to not allow myself to become preoccupied with the secondary things of this world that do not satisfy. Help me instead, by Your grace, to remain occupied with what You have given me to do, day by day and moment by moment. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.