Let’s read Ecclesiastes 6:1-2, “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction” (NKJV). Throughout this book, Solomon was “observing life under the sun” and trying to make sense of it. Here is a man who has been blessed with great wealth and the honor that goes along with it, yet he himself is unable to really enjoy them. And to make matters worse, he dies without a family to inherit his estate and it is given to a complete stranger to enjoy. Solomon rightly concluded that this is indeed “vanity” and “an evil affliction.” But Solomon also declared, “God does not give him power to eat of it,” which is paramount to blaming God by saying that He is withholding the ability to enjoy the blessings He has given. Is it true that God blesses man with material blessings and then robs them of the joy that should accompany those blessings? Let’s take a look at the previous chapter and see if we can answer that question.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 reads, “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.” In stark contrast to what we had just seen, Solomon also observed that men were not only blessed with riches and wealth, but also with the ability to enjoy them. In other words, he saw men who were truly SATISFIED with what God had given them and they experienced TRUE JOY in their lives. Solomon concluded that “this is the gift of God.” He went on to describe these men as those who do not dwell on how long they will live or the misfortunes of life, “because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.” In these words Solomon hints at the secret of this man’s happiness, for here is a man WHO IS ACKNOWLEDGING GOD. We did NOT read of the man in Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 bringing God into the picture, for there is a man who is only occupied with “his blessings” and not with “the One who has blessed him.” We will never really experience the joy of what God gives us until we are occupied with the Giver Himself! James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

As we read these two passages we must realize that God doesn’t arbitrarily bless one man with the capacity to enjoy his blessings and withhold that ability from another. Instead, we must see that God gives this gift of enjoyment to THE ONE WHO ACKNOWLEDGES HIM! The tragedy is that all are born in sin and refuse to acknowledge Him. This presents a real dilemma but God has a solution to this problem. He has provided the greatest gift of all to mankind when He gave His Son. John 3:16 declares, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you will take God at His Word and believe on His Son as your Savior, you will be given eternal life and then, and only then, will you acknowledge God in your life and have the capacity to enjoy the blessings that God has given to you. You will, first and foremost, rejoice in the gift of eternal life, but you will also look at everything you have as a gift from God. TRUE JOY will be your portion and it will then be said of you, “God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.”  (175.5)  (DO)