Good for Nothing

Eccl. 6:1-2.

“There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:

A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.”

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Once again, Solomon speaks from “under the sun”–man’s perspective, which is often not the same as God’s perspective. Here he is pointing out a great evil he has observed: The riches, fame, wisdom that a man may accumulate in his lifetime can end up being enjoyed by others, even strangers like a king who subdues this wise man’s country, and confiscates all his riches for himself.

During World War II, as Hitler’s army rampaged across Europe, those who came under Germany’s control were often stripped of all their possessions, including great works of art. Sometimes the conquerors hid these treasures, hoping to enjoy them after the war ended. Some things were so well hidden that they have never resurfaced. Here is one of many websites that discuss some of these treasures:

The Nazis certainly weren’t the first, nor will they be the last to take another man’s wealth for their own.

The Preacher (Solomon) sums up by saying that, in effect, riches, in the hands of a man that is wise and generous, are good for something, but in the hands of a sordid, sneaking, covetous miser, they are good for nothing. That miserly person will never be able to enjoy the fruit of his labors because his whole focus is on what he can amass in this life; he is not considering that there will be an eternity in which all his riches will do him no good whatsoever.

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