10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity.
11 When goods increase,
They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes?
12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
Whether he eats little or much;
But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.
(Ecclesiastes 5:10-12, New King James Version)
It seems as though King Solomon is awfully hard on those who are rich in these verses from Ecclesiastes 5 when he asks, "What profit have the rich?" We must remember, however, that Solomon was the richest man in the world. He included himself in the category of the rich, and had an insight that most of us will never have.
First, he tells us that the one who loves silver will never be satisfied with silver. No matter how much one has, he always desires to have more. But, as he gets more, those who are of his household (servants, family, and friends) increase, so though he has more silver, he has more expenses as well. "What profit, then, is there in this?" he asks.
In comparison, how does King Solomon perceive the laboring man? The sleep of the laboring man is sweet, whether he has much or little to eat. The rich, however, never sleeps peacefully; he is too worried about keeping what he has as well as getting more.
Is it wrong to be rich? Though Solomon paints a rather dismal picture in these verses, he is not condemning riches. Rather, he is showing the propensity of the rich to never be satisfied though they attain more and more wealth. The difficulty, then, is one's attitude toward one's riches.
Of course it is not wrong to be rich? The question is, if God has given you riches, what is your attitude toward your wealth, and what do you do with your wealth? God uses his wealthy children to help supply the needs of the poor, as well as finance His ministry to the lost.
All, regardless of whether they have little or much, are commanded to cheerfully tithe their time, talents and treasures to the Lord.
What profit is there in wealth? The love of wealth, driven to seek more and more, will only bring vanity, or emptiness, to the wealthy. The use of one's wealth to build the kingdom of God will reap eternal rewards, and bring satisfaction to the heart and soul.
One last thought. The love of wealth or money is not just reserved for the rich. Even the poor can grasp after more and more wealth and possession, and experience the same emptiness.
This is good food for thought, is it not?
God Bless You,