“Why Do We Seek Things We Can’t Have?” 1/17/2015 by Matthew Fretwell

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Written by Matthew Fretwell of Job 31 Ministries @ http://www.j31.org

Original post @ http://mensdailylife.me/2015/01/13/why-do-we-seek-things-we-cant-have/

Why Do We Seek Things We Can’t Have?

January 13, 2015 / mattj31

By Matthew Fretwell

The wisdom literature of Ecclesiastes, from an outside view, seems depressing and fatalistic, but beneath the words are the manifestation of the human heart—a reason why the Gospel is so imperative to life. Actually, all of the thoughts of the writer are situations and things that weigh down our day to day life. He continually uses the main theme “under the sun,” throughout his work, explaining the thought that humanity is on earth, which is under heaven, an idiom for God’s sovereign hand.

The “Preacher” emphasizes the cycles of life, the vanity of it, or the useless behavior of man, striving for things which will never satisfy him. Have you ever felt like your day to day schedule is so structured and regimental that nothing changes besides the bad things? Well, that’s sort of the same idea that the writer gives. He uses imagery of rivers flowing into the sea and never being full; its meaning cuts deep to the core—we want things which we cannot have, nor even if we had them, would they give us contentment or satisfaction—we would strive for something else. A generation comes and a generations goes—what does this tell us—that the world does not revolve around us (or me). Oh how we fail to see this one!

So, we work–and hopefully hard. But what does man gain for all of his work? Great question, and one in which is rhetorical in Ecclesiastes. Nothing. He says you’ll give it all to someone else when you die; sounds comforting, right? He says that the eyes and the ears are never satisfied. Sure thing! As I labeled them, the eye and ear are human slave masters—the eye always wants honor and the ear, praise. Christians acknowledge this deep human need, as well as non-believers, for we all strive for the words of our Master, “Well done…” I think you can finish that statement, but you get my point. The eye and ear are never satisfied—we’re enslaved to them!

We work hoping to buy something, get some kind of name for ourselves, be something we’re not, or gain a false identity—whatever the reason—it’s not because we’re thinking of others; think I’m wrong? List the top three reasons you go to work? (1) To pay bills? Sure, for what, the car payment, house payment, utilities, etc.—I’m sure none of these are for you. (2) To put food on the table; ok, now you know deep down that you need to eat, we’ll move on. (3) To provide my family a better way of life. Is THAT why you never see them? Think about it…you’re included in all of these, you have to be, or you wouldn’t work—so in general, you work for you–even if just to survive. Is that self-centeredness or doing what you have to do? Both, I’m somewhat agreeing with you—you must work, God made work and work is good; however, when we turn what God made as awesome, into idolatry—it becomes vanity. Vanity comes from humanity. And while we are created to do work, it better stated as Paul, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). Our lives are not meant to be vain and self-centered.

The Gospel reveals that in my vanity, in my failures, in my utter depravity—that Jesus loved me and in His strength it is—OK, to be weak! As long as I am no longer striving for the unattainable (idolatry), or as the writer says, feeding the wind. Humanity strives to have what it doesn’t need, while rejecting God’s goodness, which it needs. Don’t miss the writer of Ecclesiastes point, everything is vapor (breath) and trying to feed our flesh is impossible. There is nothing new under the sun, man quests for everything, and anything, to make him happy, yet fails to see that a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, is the cure.

Through Christ, I am thankful for all things and rest in His complete goodness. So, as Paul says, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Contentment comes not from happiness, but submission to the Creator.

P.S. (from bruce) Might I add, that the writer of Ecclesiastes was Solomon. Solomon was given wisdom by God, to far exceed any others; and was also made the richest man there ever was by God. (1 Kings 3:10-13). Solomon admits that he had any and everything his heart desired, in…Ecclesiastes 2:10… And with all the world at his fingertips, Solomon realized that it was all in vain.

About Godsmanforever

I present posts about God's Word, with a personal focus on how God's grace is received through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ... Sinners must understand and obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ... See this link for more... https://godsmanforever.com/2014/10/26/the-truth-about-sin-10262014-by-bruce-reposted-from-7112013/
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