Eccl 5_10-17

Michael Walsh  •  Sermon  •  
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What is your attitude towards money?  Many people are trusting that money will bring them lasting satisfaction, peace of mind and security. 

Maybe some of you in this room feel the same way.  You might think all your problems will be over once you get a few more Euros stashed away in the bank.  You might even daydream about how wonderful life would be if you won the lotto or inherited a million Euros.    

Warren Weirsbe made an interesting observation.  * */Some people treat money as though it were a god. They love it, make sacrifices for it, and think that it can do anything./


Solomon has much to say about money in Ecclesiastes 5:10-20.  This week we will look at verses 10-17 to see what money can’t buy and Lord willing, next week we will see what our attitude towards money should be. 

Let’s read the whole passage together.* (READ 5:10-20)*


I.        In verse 10 Solomon points out that money can’t buy lasting satisfaction.


A.  10  He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

(ILL) Did you ever finish your dinner but still feel a bit hungry?   You start picking at things in the fridge and sampling stuff in the cupboards but nothing seems to fill you up? 

That’s how it is with money.  No matter how much you have, you never quite feel satisfied.   You always end up looking for more. 


B.  Solomon does say he who loves money will not be satisfied.   We all need money to meet our basic needs but this is going beyond that. 

Solomon says this is a person who loves wealth so much he is never satisfied/ with his income/.  He doesn’t just want to pay the bills he wants a huge surplus. 

He actually craves and lusts after money.  If that’s your attitude towards money Solomon says you will never have enough.   


C.  One reason for never having enough is seen in verse 11.

When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

An English saying goes: The more meat the more mouths./  As you accumulate wealth the circle of those who want it also increases.  Verse 11 might be speaking about dependants, bill collectors or moochers.  They all want some of the wealth. 
(ILL) If you crave money then you find you are on an endless treadmill.  You will accumulate a small profit but then your expenses go up and you feel you need to get more money.    


D.  In the end the only thing an insatiable appetite for money leads to, is sin.  Paul told Timothy  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. (1 Ti 6:10)

Think about all the sins a craving for money has lead people to commit.  Jealousy, anger, theft, selfishness, embezzlement, lying, cheating and even murder.

Craving money will also cause you to drift from the Lord.  Paul continued to tell Timothy It is through this craving (for money) that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Ti 6:10)*

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E.  The world offers money as a substitute for God.  It promises that money will satisfy your deepest longings but it never does no matter how long & hard you chase after it. 

(Derek Kidner)  If anything is worse than the addiction money brings, it is the emptiness it leaves. 

Money cannot buy lasting satisfaction.  At the end of verse 10 Solomon says to think otherwise is vanity


II.      Solomon also wanted us to realise that money cannot buy lasting peace. v. 12.

12  Sweet is the sleep of a labourer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

Solomon is not talking about indigestion here.  The original Hebrew literally says the abundance of the rich will not let him sleep.  The reason they translated it full stomach is because the word abundance is usually used in connection with food.

The main point is that the rich man is full of worries.  Money brings complications and concerns that those living day to day don’t have to think about. 


·       Is my money safe? 
·       Am I getting a good return? 
·       Will I have to pay capital gains? 
·       How is the market doing today. 
·       Is there a tax-shelter I can avail of? 
·       Should I invest aggressively?   
·       Is this person interested in me or my money? 


If you thought that a cool million in the bank would give you lasting peace of mind think again.  I worked long enough in banks to see that often the more money a person had the less peace they seemed to enjoy.
Peace of mind cannot be bought.  It really is a gift from the Lord.  Listen to John 14:27 in the New Living Translation.  Jesus told his disciples: I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.

Q: Do you worry about money?  We ought to have a certain care and concern about our finances; that’s part of being wise.  Worry is something else; worry is based on fear. 

Again the world offers money as a substitute for the Lord.  They say get enough money and you will have no fear of the future.  But Solomon reminds us that money cannot even buy a good night’s rest, let alone lasting peace. 

(ILL) When David was pursued by his enemies he was able to say in Psalm 4:8 / In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

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III.    Solomon does not let up.  In verses 13-17 he shows that money cannot buy lasting security


A.    Money cannot give you security in this life.

13  There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14  and those riches were lost in a bad venture.  And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand.

Here is an account of what Solomon calls a grievous evil.   This terminology was used to describe an awful disease.  Solomon found the following situation sickening. 

A man stored up riches at great personal cost.  The hurt mentioned at the end of verse 13 refers to the hard work and great sacrifices this man made to amass his fortune. 

But then through a bad venture, or a calamity of some sort, the words can mean either, he loses it all.  (ILL) He put all his eggs in one basket only to find out the basket had a big hole in it. 

He was trusting that this fortune would set his son up for life but now that the money is gone so is his security. 

It seems the only thing this man had to give to his son was money.  When the money was gone it says he had nothing in his hand.   I find this very sad. 

If a father trusts in the Lord he can leave his son great riches even if he’s poor. 


·       He can pass on God’s Word. 
·       He can teach his son wisdom. 
·       He can leave him a good name and a godly example to follow. 
·       He can show his son that the Lord is the only one who can give him security in life. 
 
Isn’t money a poor substitute for all that?    


B.    Money could not offer this man security in this life or the next.

15  As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16  This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? 

They say you can’t take it with you.  That saying is only partially true.  If you spend all your time and energy in this life pursuing money then you can be sure you will not be taking any of it with you.

But listen to Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 
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(Matthew Henry)*/ If we //labour// for the Lord, the grace and comfort we get by that //labour// we may carry away in our hearts, and shall be the better for it to eternity; that is meat that endures. But if we labour// only for the world, to fill our hands with that, which we cannot take away with us; we may well ask, what profit has he that has laboured for the wind?/

No investment or insurance policy can offer lasting security in this life let alone the next.   That’s why Solomon’s father David said: The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  (Ps 18:2) 

Q: In times of trouble do you cling to Christ or your chequebook?  Do you breathe a bigger sigh of relief after coming from prayer or from the bank manager? 


C.    The person who looks to money to gain lasting satisfaction, peace or security will be disappointed.  Unless they repent they will end up like the person described in verse 17.   

Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.  What a miserable person.  He ends up in isolation.  The sickness mentioned in this verse is mental illness.  Howard Hughes and many other wealthy people ended up like this.  They show that money promises much but delivers little.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that these verses are only talking about greedy rich people.  Solomon is not talking about the amount of money you have but rather your attitude towards money.  Those on lower incomes can crave after money as much as any tycoon.

We can all fall into the trap of believing money can buy us happiness.  That it can make our family secure and give us lasting peace of mind.  Solomon warns us this morning that money cannot buy these things so do not put our trust in it.    


IV.    I would like to end our time in God’s Word by telling you where you can find lasting satisfaction, peace and security in life.
A.  Listen to this wonderful invitation to find lasting satisfaction in the Lord.

Isaiah 55:1-3/ Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live;  

Only the Lord can make this promise we find in Jeremiah 31:25  For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.  /


B.  How about lasting peace?


Isaiah 26:3  You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Money cries out “trust in me” but it lets you down.  Isaiah knew that by trusting in the Lord a person can know perfect peace.  This peace is found by trusting the Prince of Peace the Lord Jesus Christ.  He can give you peace with God, peace with your circumstances and a peacefulness in your mind and heart. 


C.    Would you like lasting security?


Psalm 20:6-8/  Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;  he will answer him from his holy heaven  with the saving might of his right hand.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.  They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
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            That’s why Paul was able to say: I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2Timothy 2:12

The hymn writer knew this lasting security when he wrote:

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
 leaning on the everlasting arms.


May you know that lasting satisfaction, peace and security as well. 
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Let’s pray!*