Think about all of God’s gifts in your life. They would fill up page after page if you were to write them all down. In fact, I think you should! Take some time to reflect on them and write them down in a journal so you can see them in front of you. It’s an amazing exercise and fills your heart with immense gratitude.
But there are underrated and unexpected gifts that we rarely reflect on enough. See if you can find them in this passage. There are 3 that stand out the most.
“Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him – for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” – Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
Did you find them? These gifts can be so subtle that we often don’t realize what a blessing they really are.
Here’s what most people read as the best gifts of God: Wealth and Possessions.
But that isn’t it. Intuitively, we know that to be true.
I bet you can think of a lot of examples of people with an abundance of both and, yet, they are miserable and unsatisfied. We have a tendency to believe that the money or the objects that we buy or the experiences that we have are what make us happy and fulfilled. But it’s fools gold. It’s not real and can never satisfy.
As King Solomon so wisely says: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied...” It is a timeless truth, isn’t it?
So we learn that it’s not wealth or possessions that are the greatest and most underrated gifts, but it is these three things.
- God enables us to enjoy what we have. Why is this gift so underrated? Because, as mentioned already, most people accumulate and pursue the next cant-live-without thing – but are never satisfied. What an amazing gift it is to be able to actually enjoy what you have. I know that sounds too simple. But think carefully. How many people are truly content with what they have? How many are satisfied and joyful? How awesome it is when God enables us to enjoy what He’s given. This is such an underrated and under-appreciated gift.
- We accept our lot in life. What do people do when they are not satisfied in life? They look for something else. In our society, we have made it not only acceptable but almost virtuous to pursue the next best thing. That’s why divorce is so rampant and debt is skyrocketing. We have a never-ending thirst for more and yet, as Solomon said, we are “never satisfied”. So not only do we not enjoy life to the fullest during the few days that we have, but we never learn to accept our lot in life either. We get caught up looking over our neighbor’s fences and thinking that “if only we had __________ then we would be satisfied!” But’s never the case. This, too, is such an underrated gift – to accept what God has given you and to be satisfied with it.
- We love what we do. There is so much to say about this point and it is a constant conversation here with my Tribe. But consider the blessing of this gift for those who have found it. When Gallup surveyed millions of people about this very issue they found that nearly 70% of people do not enjoy, love, or find satisfaction in their work. How tragic! To spend the majority of your waking hours in “the grind” or doing work simply because “it pays the bills” is a sad, miserable state. Yet, sadly, it is what the majority of us do. What a gift, then, it truly is when God leads you to work that you truly love.
…when God gives any man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. – King Solomon
Solomon’s wisdom is as true today as it was back then. In fact, it isn’t Solomon’s wisdom at all – but God’s. God knows that life is short. He wants more for you than “just getting by”. He wants you to thrive and not just survive. May we all pursue these gifts and ask God to enable us to enjoy our work, accept our lot, and find work that we love to do!