God gives us earthly things to support us and to give us enjoyment, but we need to keep these things in their proper place and not love them more than God.

BibleGateway: Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

ESV Text: Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

Ecclesiastes 5:8–20 (Listen)

The Vanity of Wealth and Honor

If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.1

10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.

18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment2 in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.


[1] 5:9 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain

[2] 5:18 Or and see good


KJV Text:

The section starts at about 1:0 and ends at about 3:6

8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

     9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? 12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. 13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. 14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. 15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind? 17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

     18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. 20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.(KJV)

Hymn: TLH 425 (LSB 732):
All Depends on our Possessing

Hymnary.org — Organ Audio

1. All depends on our possessing 
God’s abundant grace and blessing, 
Though all earthly wealth depart. 
He who trusts with faith unshaken 
In His God is not forsaken 
And e’er keeps a dauntless heart. 

2. He who hitherto hath fed me 
And to many joys hath led me, 
Is and ever shall be mine. 
He who did so gently school me, 
He who still doth guide and rule me, 
Will remain my Help divine. 

3. Many spend their lives in fretting 
Over trifles and in getting 
Things that have no solid ground. 
I shall strive to win a treasure 
That will bring me lasting pleasure 
And that now is seldom found. 

4. When with sorrow I am stricken, 
Hope my heart anew will quicken, 
All my longing shall be stilled. 
To His loving-kindness tender 
Soul and body I surrender; 
For in Him alone I build. 

5. Well He knows what best to grant me; 
All the longing hopes that haunt me, 
Joy and sorrow, have their day. 
I shall doubt His wisdom never,– 
As God wills, so be it ever,– 
I to Him commit my way. 

6. If on earth my days He lengthen, 
He my weary soul will stengthen; 
All my trust in Him I place. 
Earthly wealth is not abiding, 
Like a stream away is gliding; 
Safe I anchor in His grace.