All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 6:7-9 ESV)
Have you ever wondered why you have to get a job? When I was a teenager my father made all of his children go to work. Unlike most typical teenagers, I didn’t mind getting a real job and I learned the valuable lesson of what it means to be responsible. This is a value that I still have and will pass on to my children. I have also found the reason why most of us work so hard is to pay our bills, buy more things, and fill our refrigerators. The problem that most of us find ourselves in is that no matter how hard we work, the bills will keep coming, our clothes will fade, and our refrigerators will get empty. Yet no matter how rich or how poor you are, you will get hungry again within 8-10 hours of eating.
Solomon is not suggesting any of us to quit our jobs and live in the woods, but is bringing awareness to the danger of never being content with our thirst for more labor to fill our worldly cravings. Is it wrong to eat? No. We need food in order to keep our bodies moving. But what good is it if I’m keeping my body moving if I’m not moving in the right direction? Solomon would simply tell us that if life is only about working and eating, then our appetites are controlling us. And that is extremely dangerous.
In the end, there can be much enjoyment in working and eating, but we must labor for God’s kingdom and enjoy the gifts God has given us without keeping him out of the picture.
If you are idle in Christ’s work, you are active in the devil’s work. – Charles H. Spurgeon