Ecclesiastes 4 - Oppressions, Contentment and Relationships

Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
An appropriate lament in an era where individuals are losing their homes (some innocent, some not so much) and jobs while executives continue to get large paychecks, big bonuses, go on lavish retreats and at worst get golden parachutes.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 - "Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind." Paul said something similar to Timothy - "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment". But Christians continue to fall for the pattern of the world that says much toil and much gain brings contentment.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 - Surrounding these verses much used in weddings is a larger, more general truth. Relationships are more beneficial than hard work or what it gains you. How many families have been ruined by a father's lone ambition to succeed, perhaps couched in 'providing for his family'?

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2 Comments

So true! It's so easy to get sucked into the just $200 more trap. You know, we're keeping our heads above water, but just $200 more would make it much easier. The problem, of course, is that in toiling for the extra $200, it suddenly is not enough. Then it is just another $200 more...

I've never liked the implication that if you live your life right, thousands will attend your funeral. Where is this massive throng when you're alive?

Still, relationships bring strength and purpose to our lives. Alone, there is ceaseless toiling for only more stuff.

I can relate to "striving after wind".. much of my career I spent chasing the next wind of technology or the next promotion.. produced some weird fruit in my life.



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