1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men— 2 a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction.” – Eccl 6:1,2

Solomon has made similar contrasts between the rich and the power, the powerful and the weak, the young and the old. You can accumulate all your life, but there are somethings beyond your power. Why does it seem that the rich are not happy or satisfied while a poor man is?

Men can pursue many things in this life and they can accumulate great wealth. They have done so by manipulating and utilizing the natural order of things which God set into place. If you sow, you reap; you sow much, you reap much. Carnal men understand this. But they have only so much control. The fruit of all their labors will be given to others. It’s like the old saying “you can’t take it with you when you die.” The greatest and most powerful people in the world know that they only have so much power. They can try to get around this reality by living longer and by managing and bequeathing their estate to their children, but still they face the reality that a certain point is reached when events are beyond their control. Abuses of power and manipulations of what is right can aid them only so far. The rich man is not “empowered” by God to maintain his grasp on his precious things. His riches can vanish and be quickly taken away. Solomon says it is evil, but he know it is a negative reality of God’s order of things. A carnal man keeps trusting the carnal to satisfy himself which is vanity because his source of happiness will disappear as a vapor.

God gives man the tools to work and accumulate things, but happiness and satisfaction are more elusive. Happier is the man who draws near to God. God has given us the basic necessities of life so that we enjoy them. Labor with our hands and bread to eat are from Him. A man that doesn’t have the basics is the destitute and hopeless. But a righteous man is happy because He acknowledges the source of His blessings. He has something that can’t be taken away.

Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it.” – Proverbs 15:16

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