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The Journal

Finding true contentment

Finding True contentment It was the great 17th C Philosopher Pascal who said all people seek happiness and in the passage from Ecclesiastes today the teacher seeks to examine pleasure to find out what is good - see 2:1. He examines education and variety of pleasures such as laughter or comedy , achievement, wine and sex. None of these provided him with the satisfaction he had hoped for and again he realised that whether he is a fool or wise or whether he achieves great things or not he like all people will die and be forgotten. This realisation is humbling and this is what guides him to see the limitations of this life without God. Then in this section there is a huge breakthrough because in 2:24-26 he learns that life is a gift from God. The teacher is showing us that we can’t “gain” to establish our own sense of value rather life doesn’t work unless we are in a relationship with the living God. There was also a subtle hint in 2:8 that not only is our relationship with God critical so is our relationship with our neighbour important. In this passage the teacher says that he is accumulating gold and treasures for himself. Selfishness doesn’t work because the gifts God gives us are to enjoy and share. In 2:24 we hear the well known line : eat , drink and be merry and it can sound like that is all there is but this teacher is not negative about pleasure. He is saying that we should enjoy God’s gifts because that is what there is and these are a gift from the Lord. Of course the great secret to contentment is to be thankful for these gifts and this leads us to praise the giver of all these blessings. This attitude of thankfulness expressed in praise to God is an important way to cultivate joy & contentment. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara