Ecclesiastes 5:8–20 (NKJV)

8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.
9 Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.

10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity.

11 When goods increase,
They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes?

12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
Whether he eats little or much;
But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

13 There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:
Riches kept for their owner to his hurt.
14 But those riches perish through misfortune;
When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.
15 As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return,
To go as he came;
And he shall take nothing from his labor
Which he may carry away in his hand.

16 And this also is a severe evil—
Just exactly as he came, so shall he go.
And what profit has he who has labored for the wind?
17 All his days he also eats in darkness,
And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.

18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. 19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

Solomon gives a treatise in this passage on those who work and conduct business.  His first subject is the oppression of the poor by businessmen and political officials.  Solomon makes it clear that even the king depends on the workers in the field.  Whether he means that laborers will continue to be oppressed, or whether he means that the high officials will appreciate the labor and work on their behalf is unclear.  I presume that it is the latter.  Solomon then goes on to say that silver (money) does not satisfy.  He again alludes to the fact that those who amass great goods see others consume them, only seeing them rather than enjoying them all.  The Preacher then speaks of how the laboring man sleeps better than the rich man.  He continues to say that the rich who hoard their riches perish and die with nothing.  He will die with exactly what he was born with.

The best thing for one who works is to enjoy the fruit of his labor.  That is his heritage.  That is the gift of God.  His busyness will bring him joy.  This passage points out the futility of chasing riches for the purpose of riches.  It does show the hope that work can be rewarding.  If one works for satisfaction and good works, then satisfaction comes from a job well done.  In the big picture, hard work and responsibility are the ultimate reward in whatever you do.  Do your best and fulfill your role and God will give you peace and satisfaction!

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