It takes more than good stuff to have a good life. Find true enjoyment, wisdom, knowledge and happiness.
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Read Ecclesiastes 2:24-26
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 125
Q. What does the fourth request mean?
A. “Give us today our daily bread” means,
Do take care of all our physical needs
so that we come to know that
you are the only source
of everything good,
and that neither our work and worry
nor your gifts
can do us any good without
And so help us to give up our trust
and to put trust in you alone.
All throughout history there have been ascetic Christians - that is, people who think the best way to prove their discipleship is by detaching themselves from any sort of physical or sensory pleasure. They embrace celibacy, they eat only the plainest and most basic foods, and go to great lengths to make sure there's nothing that could be considered luxurious or indulgent in their lives.
While there may be very particular instances when a Christian is called to completely isolate himself in such a way for a short period of discernment, asceticism is not the lifestyle that the Bible teaches. Quite the opposite, in fact!
Ecclesiastes is often mistakenly considered to be a very dour, pessimistic book. It's easy to see why, since the final clause of today's passage - that everything is a "meaningless chasing after the wind" - is a continuing refrain throughout the entire book. But one of Ecclesiastes' key lessons is what we read here today: that you need to slow down and enjoy the blessings God has given you when He gives them.
It's verse 25 that captures our attention today:
For without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
Certainly lots of very godless people accumulate really nice things, and many even seem to truly enjoy the good things they have. Yet as we read earlier this week, both the stuff they have and the joy it brings them are gifts of God's common grace, in which He sends rain on both the just and unjust.
But today the Old Testament gives us a bit more insight into what we read earlier this week in the New Testament. Although they might find a little enjoyment along they way, ultimately those who don't recognize God's provision and blessing are simply "gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God."
No matter how hard you work or how much you worry, or how much blessings God gives you along the way, none of it will give you true and lasting enjoyment until you recognize God as the giver of all good things.
The best way for you to "find satisfaction in your toil" is to thank God often throughout the day, and continue to make clear in your prayers that you depend on Him each day for your daily bread.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who grants wisdom, knowledge and happiness to the person who pleases Him;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for His blessings in your life, and continue to pray that each day He will give you your daily bread;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Revelation 11