Sunday, May 3, 2009


At first glance, Ecclesiastes, Chapter 6, seems to repeat the same line of thought as in Chapter 5; however, if we look more closely, we see that in this chapter, Solomon speaks of the appetite.

In the first two verses, Solomon gives an example of what he calls a grievous evil. This is a man who has everything, but dies and someone else enjoys what the man worked for in life.

This reminds me of a parable that Jesus told about a rich fool... In the parable, Jesus speaks of a rich man who just gets richer... The rich man decides that he has plenty of the good things laid up, so he will take life easy - eat, drink and be merry. The Lord said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you prepared for yourself?" Jesus said that this is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God. (Luke 12:16-21)

In the second example given in verses 3-6, Solomon tells of another man who has a large family, lives a long time, yet he did not enjoy his prosperity, nor did anyone grieve his passing.

It looks to me like this man "had it all", but was a stranger to his own family. I think he worked all the time, provided well for his family, but failed to develop a loving relationship with them. His wife probably had other interests, having given up on him long before, and his children were probably completely spoiled from having every material desire satisfied by their hard-working father. Then, when this man died... Let's just say that nobody missed him much.

Again, Solomon says a stillborn child is better off than a life such as either of these examples. He goes on to say that even if a man lives 2000 years and fails to enjoy his prosperity, he has lived a life for nothing. It is well to remember that we will all go to the same place – the grave.

Having given the two examples of men who literally lived for nothing, Solomon begins to speak of the appetites of man. Certainly we can agree that it is appetites that drive us. We work primarily so that we can have food, shelter and clothing. Those are our basic physical needs. When we desire beyond our basic needs, our appetite enters the picture and, depending upon what we desire, our fates can be determined…

I remember a sermon at church many years ago. The message was delivered by our, at that time, Bishop Henderson. Bishop Henderson asked if we knew why the lost sheep got lost...referring to the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:4-5). Then, he proceeded to tell us. The sheep got lost because of appetite. That little lamb put his head down to satisfy his appetite. He took his eyes off the shepherd and put his eyes on what it would take to satisfy his appetite. And, while he was satisfying his appetite, he got lost… Isn’t that the way with us all? We have to be careful of our appetites. Does what we desire take our eyes off of God?

In looking at appetites, we determine that, for the most part, the satisfaction of our appetite is short-lived. We satisfy the appetite, then it returns when it wants more… It can be a vicious cycle if the appetite is for something addictive – such as alcohol or drugs. Seemingly harmless things can also be an addiction if the desire is for excess – such as food, shopping, money, acquisition of “stuff”, gambling, sex…the list goes on and on. The desire for recognition, fame and fortune is also a well trod path to destruction… We can conclude that satisfaction of an appetite, in such cases, is elusive and the rewards are temporary at best.

While we travel our path through life – satisfying our appetites – what are we neglecting or losing? Solomon concludes that it is better to be satisfied with what the eyes see rather than the ever roving appetite. The most important things in life are God and family. Be content with what you have and enjoy life…

We have another biblical expert on contentment…Paul who was formerly Saul. Paul wrote to Timothy about Godliness with contentment. (I Timothy 6:4-10) Paul makes the following points:

a. We came with nothing and we leave with nothing.
b. Be content with food and clothing – in meeting our needs – not our wants.
c. If you want to be rich, you fall into temptation and a trap.
d. Foolish and harmful desires plunge men into ruin and destruction.
e. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, causing some to wander from their faith and cause themselves much grief.

In a letter to Timothy, Paul charged Timothy to flee from the love of money and all that it can buy. Instead, pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Command those who are rich to not be arrogant nor put their hope in wealth, but instead, put hope in God. Command your flock to be rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share. In this way, you lay up treasures for yourself that money cannot buy. (I Timothy 6:17-19)

Paul practiced this as well. We see in Philippians 4:11-13 that Paul considers it better to be content in every situation, whether in plenty or in want. He advises that you can do this through God who gives you strength.

We all have appetites… They have been with us from birth. At birth, our appetite is simply for nourishmen. As we grow, our appetites change. The question is – what are your appetites now? Are they temporal or ethereal? What will your appetite cost you? Will your appetites cost you happiness and contentment in this life? Will they cost you eternity with our Lord? Maybe it is time to evaluate your appetite…

Just something to think about…

Darlene Cirinna
Copyright 4/30/09

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