Displaying Discontent - Ecclesiastes 4:7-8
February 1, 2023, 9:00 AM

“Again, I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless-- a miserable business!”

Solomon, in his discouraged state, uses an example of a man who is all alone with no one to leave the fruits of his labor. The man thinks over his hard work, but what is it worth? He is not content. Things do not satisfy the desires of his heart. He feels alone and his achievements empty.

For many it doesn't matter how hard they work, they just don't seem to get ahead. If they do, they come to the startling realization that it has all been for nothing. How timely in our economy. Those who have saved for a lifetime find the downward spiral of the market leaving them very little. Another man finds he got a $100 raise a month to find his rent is now $150 more a month. What good is it? Why bother?

The man who lives for selfish interests never finds lasting happiness. Mental health professionals are finding business booming when economy gets tough. Suicides are up. Depression increases. Despair seems to be contagious.

We often did we get the very thing we wanted only to find it did not bring the contentment we sought? Discontentment occurs through selfish pursuits when the person is all alone.

There is value in hard work, in doing a job well, but perhaps more than the product is the process that develops our character. Many women who are seeking careers over homes and family are starting to feel the pains of discontentment. They have found that the things that matter the most do not get our best attention.

A movie I enjoyed was The Rain Man. Due to bitterness of losing his mother and having a wealthy, but hard father, a son, named Charlie, leaves home and never contacts his dad for years. He is pursuing an expensive car dealership when he gets the news his father died. Out of obligation he attends the funeral. At the reading of the will, he discovered he does not get the $3 million dollars.

An investigation reveals he has an autistic brother, Raymond, who was put in an institution. He is brilliant in some areas, s.a. calculations, but cannot carry out normal activity. Enraged Charlie “steals” his brother from the home thinking taking care of him would allow him to get the money.

The movie shows the contrast of the pursuit of material things compared to a new relationship with a brother he didn’t know he had. The things he wanted did not bring contentment. In time, he found a new relationship with Raymond and that began to mean more to him than he could imagine.

Prayer: Lord, may all I do be of benefit to others and to Your Kingdom work.