Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. – Ecclesiastes 10:19
Is money the answer for everything?
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but I’ll be honest; if it did, maybe I’d be more into gardening. Thankfully, it doesn’t, just think how high inflation could go during the annual harvest! Money is just one of those things we can’t seem to ever get away from. It is so deeply ingrained in our everyday life; useful for supplying our basic needs and indulging our more extravagant desires. Now, as my husband will tell you, I’ve never been a big spender - but Target does seem to empty my pockets. Retail therapy, anyone? We can’t escape it, money is complicated. So, what are we to do with a verse like Ecclesiastes 10:19 that seems to imply that money is the answer for everything?
Context is King
I’m not a pastor, nor do I claim to be. But as any biblical scholar will tell you, looking at the verses surrounding the one you are studying is imperative to understanding the verse in question. We don’t read books by ignoring whole chapters and skipping paragraphs to pick a sentence we like. In the same way, biblical context is not only key, it is king. It must reign in order to achieve proper biblical understanding.
Ecclesiastes is written by “The Preacher” son of David, most likely Solomon. It begins with the preacher pondering the meaning of life in search for an answer in how one may find satisfaction. The previous verses read to me as a continuation of this one thought, the natural consequences of sin and folly are paralleled by the enjoyment and gratification of the gifts given by God. King Solomon is examining the natural outcomes of life, both good and bad. This can be clearly seen in the previous verses where Solomon contrasts two very different situations, and the outcomes of each.
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your princes feast in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,
and your princes feast at the proper time,
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
Is Solomon endorsing the idea that money is the answer for all of life’s sorrows? I don’t think so. Solomon has so far made very practical observations. In the same way he has practically observed the need for money to meet the demands of food, shelter, clothing, etc. Our carnal needs such as these listed do require finances of some sort. However, that begs the question, is man simply carnal? Scripture reveals otherwise. Verses like Matthew 10:28 come to mind, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Likewise, Ecclesiastes 12:7 states “And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Human beings are not simply flesh and bones, our needs far exceed that of the body. From my study of the Word of God, I see our greatest need is that of the soul, which is not sustained by corruptible things. In fact, quite the exact opposite. Our soul is indeed maintained by the giver of life himself! Matthew 4:4 states “For man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Moreover, in John 15:5 Jesus teaches his disciples that he is the true vine, the source of life – without him everything is futile.
Jesus is the answer for everything
Solomon’s observations about life still ring true today. This world is broken and full of woes. The hope we seek cannot be found in the material things or temporal happiness, our problem is sin and always will be. It has separated us from God because we have disobeyed and rejected him; as cosmic traitors, we have no hope in our own strivings, only God can pardon us! It is by the perfect sinless life, death, and resurrection of Jesus can we find peace and restored relationship with our Heavenly Father. God grants us the free gift of salvation through Jesus, He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one can come to the Father except through Him!
Dingers, this Weird Verse Wednesday (WVW) Blog was written by Christian blogger, Izabel Saville. Better known as Izzy! She is also a professional photographer in the Washington D.C area! Make sure to check her out at www.heyizzy.photography! You can also find her Christian content on Instagram @saintsandsociety!