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Bible Reading
Ecclesiastes (5)


Chapter 5

AS YOU ENTER the Temple, keep your ears open and your mouth shut! Don't be a fool who doesn't even realize it is sinful to make rash promises to God, for he is in heaven and you are only here on earth, so let your words be few. Just as being too busy gives you nightmares, so being a fool makes you a blabbermouth. So when you talk to God and vow to him that you will do something, don't delay in doing it, for God has no pleasure in fools. Keep your promise to him. It is far better not to say you'll do something than to say you will and then not do it. In that case, your mouth is making you sin. Don't try to defend yourself by telling the messenger from God that it was all a mistake [to make the vow]. That would make God very angry and he might destroy your prosperity. Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words, fear God instead.
    If you see some poor man being oppressed by the rich, with miscarriage of justice anywhere throughout the land, don't be surprised! For every official is under orders from higher up, and the higher officials look up to their superiors. And so the matter is lost in red tape and bureaucracy. And over them all is the king. Oh, for a king who is devoted to his country! Only he can bring order from this chaos.
    He loves money shall never have enough. The foolishness of thing that wealth brings happiness!  The more you have, the more you spend, right up to the limits of your income, so what is the advantage of wealth-except perhaps to watch it as it runs through your fingers!  The man who works hard sleeps well whether he eats little or much, but the rich must worry and suffer insomnia.
    There is another serious problem. I have seen everywhere-savings are put into risky investments that turn sour, and soon there is nothing left to pass on to one's son. The man who speculates is soon back to where he began-with nothing. This, as I said, is a very serious problem, for all his hard work has been for nothing; he has been working for the wind. It is all swept away.
    All the rest of his life he is under a cloud-gloomy, discouraged, frustrated, and angry.
    Well, one thing, at least, is good: it is for a man to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, accept his position in life, and enjoy his work whatever his job may be, for however long the Lord may let him live.
    And, of course, it is very good if a man has received wealth from the Lord, and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life-that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy.


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