July 17, 2024

Satisfaction and Sleep

Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.

—  Ecclesiastes 5:12

Ecclesiastes connects sleep with a sense of peace and satisfaction in life. These blessings are linked with honest work and recognizing that all good things come from God, who provides what we need. The ability to accept and enjoy the life we have and to be happy in our work is a great gift from God. This brings us peace of heart so that we can sleep well, knowing we are always in God’s care.

Ecclesiastes warns about the insatiable pursuit of wealth and its spiritual perils. Though it doesn’t condemn wealth, this passage warns that it’s better to have little and enjoy it than to have too much and be spoiled by it. Wealth and abundance are blessings from God, but pursuing wealth for its own sake shows a heart of greed and a lack of gratitude that will impoverish our lives and even harm our souls. Directing our resources, pursuits, and passions toward God is far better.

Jesus draws from some of the wisdom here and helps us understand it more clearly when he says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? . . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25-33).

Help us, Lord, to focus on living for you, seeking to put your kingdom first in our lives and in your world. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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