Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:6, ‘Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.’
Observations: Earlier Solomon mentioned one of the biggest issues in our society – materialism. Solomon talks about how our labour and achievement ‘spring from man’s envy of his neighbour. (v4)’ The Bible refers to this envy for our neighbour as ‘coveting,’ which is the content of the 10th Commandment (Ex 20:17). To covet other’s possessions, to work and strive out of envy, is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Instead of toiling for ‘two handfuls’ Solomon says it is much better ‘one handful with tranquillity.’ Instead of working 80 hours and have more stuff like everyone else, it’s better to work 40 hours and have less stress. It’s better to have half the stuff and no stress, than lots of stuff and lots of stress.
Application: When it comes to your possessions are you able to say with Paul, ‘I have learnt to be content? (Phil 4:11-12)’ Our society tries to convince us that we need what everyone else has, and we need it now. And so we go into huge debt to get a new house, which causes constant stress in our lives. In the past people got small debts just to get into the market, and they improved their situation as they could afford it. They lived within their means, they created margin in their budgets, and as a result I think they had less financial stress than so many of us today. If tranquillity is something you desire, maybe you need to change your attitude towards your material possessions.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for coveting what others have, for getting sucked in by what our society suggests is normal. Instead Lord, may I be content with living within my means, and even creating margin in my life so I can serve Your purposes and be generous to those in need. Lord, may I not put material possessions before You, or this life before the life to come. Lord, may I find peace and tranquillity as I live life Your way, rather than pursuing the pleasures of this world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.