Wealth, Wisdom, and Eternal Purpose.

We are studying the third section of Ecclesiastes, which instructs us on how to rejoice in hard times. Joy is the reality of the believer who lives in the blessed will of God (Ecclesiastes 8:15). With the proper perspective, believers can enjoy all God's good gifts, but if distracted from eternal purpose, we will doubt the integrity of God and His providence.

The end of chapter 6 (verse 12) asked the question, "Who knows what is good?" The answer is only God. Though this passage may seem paradoxical and morbid, God knows what is ultimately good and wise.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-15 lists 8 pieces of practical wisdom. This passage is still addressing prosperous people. We cannot have joy if we are not living for eternal purposes. Wealth can distract us and distort reality.

Wisdom is good, but even it is futile apart from eternal purpose (Proverbs 9:10). It is essential for living well, but it is not enough without Jesus "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:2-3, 9).

Affliction and pain often prove to be more helpful to us than prosperity and laughter (Ecclesiastes 7:1-6).

In the New Testament, James 1:3-4 reminds us that trials are what produce perseverance and character.

Solomon answers the question, What outlasts wealth? A good name, or a person's reputation, is more lasting. It is said that a person gets 3 names: the one their parents gave them, the ones their friends give them, and the one they make for themselves. The memory of a life well-lived may last beyond the day of death (Proverbs 10:7).

It is good to consider the two important dates of birth and death. Being unwisely distracted by death will cause one to live for things here and now. The day of death counts for something when life is tied to wise, eternal purposes, and wealth is used appropriately to those ends.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says there is more to learn at sober occasions than celebrations. They teach us to ask the question, What is essential? Considering death makes us refocus on simple purposes. This is good to consider while one is alive and well! As Paul said, "to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). A healthy consideration of death drives us to live for eternal purposes.

Application Points

  • Are you living in a way that will leave you "a good name" when you are gone?
  • Solomon's message is not to consider death and be eager to hasten it. We are to consider how death impacts our living now. The way to make life and death most meaningful is to live for the purposes God says are wise and good.

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "I Will Glory in My Redeemer"

I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose priceless blood has ransomed me
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
And hung Him on that judgment tree
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and death
My only Savior before the holy Judge
The Lamb who is my righteousness

I will glory in my Redeemer
My life He bought, my love He owns
I have no longings for another
I’m satisfied in Him alone
I will glory in my Redeemer
His faithfulness my standing place
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me
My feet are firm, held by His grace

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who carries me on eagles’ wings
He crowns my life with lovingkindness
His triumph song I’ll ever sing
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who waits for me at gates of gold
And when He calls me, it will be paradise
His face forever to behold