Nobody is entitled to what they think they deserve, is the message here, I think. We often hear people saying things like, “I don’t deserve this” or “You deserve better than that.” But do we really deserve anything at all? Why is it that we think hard work should be rewarded with anything more than that which the work itself has produced. There is very little in life which causes disappointment more consistently than the feeling of being denied that which we think we deserve. But if you can stop expecting anything and imagine you deserve nothing, you might escape a lot of unnecessary disappointment. You could live your life as well as you know how. Work hard and to the best of your ability and in so doing, enjoy the progress you make in your work. You could celebrate your successes and enjoy your family and the things you already have.
Ecclesiastes 9:5-12 NLT
The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne! Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skilful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.
We only live for a short time in comparison with the time we spend in the grave, but Jesus himself said: “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life”. This is in agreement with Solomon’s observation in verse 7 of today’s passage — Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! My Goal today is to try and identify the disappointments that are weighing me down. I wonder how many of them are caused by not getting what I think I deserve. I want to remember today that life is not fair and things seem to be decided by chance. But just because that is the case, it doesn’t mean life can’t be an abundant banquet for us all to enjoy, whether we deserve it or not.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18, 2 Corinthians 7:8-16, Psalms 48:1-14, Proverbs 22:17-19