“Not Satisfied With Silver” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, 10)
The author of Ecclesiastes has a good feel for humanity’s habits in the covetousness arena. He knows it is a temptation of ours to put off sacrificing doing good while we focus on our own self-pleasure. Some “talk big” when it comes to their plans to give and help others. They make mental and verbal commitments. Yet, when the opportunity comes to give it can be easy to excuse ourselves and back out of these promises. In the New Testament, Paul called Corinth out for this same type of backtracking (see 2 Corinthians 9:1-5). One of the major reasons why is our own lack of contentment. We do not want to sacrifice what we have vowed because we are not satisfied with having enough and want more for ourselves. Notice this text in Ecclesiastes.
4 “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—
5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity” (5:4-5, 10).
Consider verse ten. What does it mean “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver?” What does the author mean when he says, “nor he who loves abundance, with increase?” The main point is our love for money and things is insatiable if not held in check. Proverbs 27:20 also warns, “So the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Habakkuk warned, “Behold the proud...he is like death, and cannot be satisfied...” (2:5). Personal ambitions and desires can destroy a God- centered mentality that asks us to consider others. It is typical human nature to want more and more. Yet, the author of Ecclesiastes asks us to make sure God stays in our priorities as we hold our pursuit for more at bay.
Be honest with yourself for a moment. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ll be satisfied when...” This starts at a young age. The toddler thinks, “I just want that one toy, then I’ll be satisfied.” But, next week he sees a new toy and wants it too. The teen says, “I just want a new car, then I’ll be satisfied.” But, that “new car” will one day get old and you will want something better. The college student says, “I want the new cell phone” and then says it again when the next version is unveiled. The young, married couple says, “We just want a house of our own, then we’ll be satisfied.” But, as family size and income increases we want a house and property that is bigger and better than the first. This cycle can become never-ending. It also can get in the way of our giving to God and others. Learn the lesson of contentment and avoid the insatiable thirst for having the next new thing. Say “no” to yourself instead of saying “no” to God and the good works He calls you to do. Make giving a priority and avoid being like those “not satisfied with silver.”