He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
- Ecclesiastes 5:10
Vanity is the hollow part of life.
The Greek concept is as a vapour; it is that useless to us. We are rarely satisfied with what we have. We obtain silver; then we chase gold. We obtain gold, and chase diamonds and other jewels. We love abundance and get it, and then we pursue the increase (the interest) from it. Nothing is enough. I once met a man at a BBQ who was a global regional manager of a well-known international bank. Initially based in Hong Kong, he then came to Australia and lived in South Yarra. He was forty years old, single and had a five-car garage, all full. It included a top of the line Range Rover, top of the line Porsche, and three other exotic cars. He started with one, but it wasn't enough. He was a good bloke who I liked, but his desires were unsatiated. One place God calls us to is the destination of being satisfied with what we have, and getting on with the spiritual building.
All through the Bible, we see David's comment — I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.(Psalm 37:25)
He said that when he was older and wiser. This blessing does not mean we will be well off, although some of us will be. It means that God has our backs and will look after His children, and we are to rest in that assurance. Our goals change when become Christians; from the temporary gold of this world to the eternal gold of the wisdom of God. Like other attributes of the Spirit, being satisfied is a learned behaviour. Once we develop contentment, we rid ourselves of many anxieties and can live a life of peace. An abundance of anxieties come with a discontented spirit: i.e. we are not smart enough, we don't have enough money, we don't dress expensively enough, we don't drive the right car, we don't live in a big enough house, our kids don't go to the right school or church, our families embarrass us, we don't have a good enough job, and the list goes on and on. It is vanity and vaporous. These pursuits are like chasing soap bubbles at a kids party. The reality is, at a God-appointed time in the not-too-distant future, the intangibility of heaven will become the tangible for everyone on this earth, dead and alive. The promise is real, and all that is currently stopping it is God’s command.
On the other hand, this earth and all its so-called fulfillments and promises will burn away, they will dissolve (2 Peter 3) as if it never existed in the first place. This world is merely a training ground for us to learn to choose the good and deny what isn’t.
Our scrambled desires limit our ability to please God. Because of the magnetic pull of this world’s success, dismissing it all for the Love of God is hard to get our heads around. It feels counter-intuitive. When we put our efforts into pleasing God first, our desires become clarified, they become clear, and we see the quest for silver, gold and interest as valueless.
Today’s Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that Jesus came to help us separate the things we need from the things we want; the things which provide sufficiency with the things that engender hollow dissatisfaction. Please help me to be content and have the strength to deny abstract desires, and put my efforts into building your kingdom within.