Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:10-12:
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.
Our society today is all about wealth, or the accumulation of material possessions, that are intended to make us happy and content. I have met many people in our own community who have an insatiable desire to hoard products that they really don’t need to begin with, or will never use. Many of these people feel a certain type of security in buying and stockpiling these items. They store them in their homes until their homes are filled up. Then they rent storage units to continue their massive hoard of merchandise that will expire before it can ever be used.
Our scripture reading today addresses this need to accumulate goods or any type of wealth. The writer of Ecclesiastes warns all of us, that if we fall in love with money, or material goods, or wealth, that we will never be satisfied. As our assets increase, so must our time and effort increase, to maintain or grow our wealth. The hoarder will never be satisfied with what they have and their worry and stress level will certainly increase. They become consumed with their material possessions and will go to great lengths to protect their worldly goods from theft or decay. Greater wealth brings about greater anxiety.
Jesus, in Matthew 6:19-21, tells us “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus is encouraging us to put our time and effort in this life, into things that are important to the kingdom of God. The world that we live in teaches us to put our endeavors into behavior that provides immediate benefits and returns to us, especially our bank account. Jesus is teaching us to put our effort into things that guarantee us, and those we reach for Christ, eternal life.
Having money and living a comfortable life is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem arises, when we fall so in love with our money and possessions, that it becomes an obstacle between us and God. Jesus reminds us that we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).
Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, warns his young assistant about the love of money and possessions: For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
As followers of Jesus, our focus should not be on gaining material possessions or wealth here on this earth. We must continue to develop a desire to serve Christ, by serving others, and thus storing up treasures for ourselves, as we live for eternity, with God in heaven.