Not Enough Money in the World – Ecclesiastes 5

The First Message in our Dollars and Sense Sermon Series.

Find the rest of the messages in this series here.

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My Father used to say “there’s not enough money in the world that you could pay me to do that…”

I specifically remember my dad saying that about refereeing.
“There’s not enough money in the world to pay me to be a referee…”

But I remember my dad getting pulled out of the stands at one my of my little league games because there were no umps and we were going to have to cancel the game…

I don’t remember anything about the game other than there was a really close play at 2nd base late in the game- I don’t even remember how my dad called it, but I remember everyone looking at my dad in that moment and thinking, oh man. Dad didn’t ask for this and this is a no win situation…

Maybe it was after that experience that dad started saying there’s not enough money in the world to pay me to be a referee…

When we say something along those lines, we are saying that there are some things that are more valuable than money, there are jobs that aren’t worth the money, no matter how much they pay, because of what you have to give up…

Time with your family, your health, your sanity, etc… You’re saying these aren’t worth the money…

However, I’m afraid that what we usually mean is that it’s not worth the the amount of money they are offering…

When I was making graphics for Friend Day- the memes that I posted each day leading up to Friend Day, I was looking for inspiration on some funny graphics and I kept coming across similar memes along the theme of if someone offered me a million dollars to smack my friend, I’d do it in a heartbeat…

The idea here is that there is a price- we have a price that we place on hurting relationships, on our time, on our lives…

I want you to see this morning that

The best stuff in life is priceless.

Meaning that you can’t put a price on it. There’s not a enough money in the world to pay for it or buy it.

You may have heard the best things in life are free, I want to go a step further than that- The best stuff in life is priceless, there isn’t a price, there isn’t enough money in the world to compensate for them.

I want to make my case first of all by pointing out that money is worth far less than you think.

When someone jokes about jumping at the chance to hurt a friend for a million dollars, they’re making a joke about how greedy they are, how badly they want money. Which is tragic, because while money is useful it’s nowhere near as valuable as we think.

How many of you have watched the Antiques Roadshow?
I love the whole premise of people bringing in items and they get an estimate on the value of their stuff in front of a camera.

The person might have something that was handed down from their great grandfather, through generations, but when the expert tells them how much money it’s worth, their eyes light up.

They could have just told us how much it means to their family. All of the history that comes along with it, but when someone tells them it’s worth money….

I want to turn the scenario around and instead of demonstrating how much an item is worth, I want to place money on the table and bring in an expert to tell us how much it is worth.

The expert is Solomon.

He’s an expert because he was the richest man on earth.

He was the wisest man on earth.

He collected all kinds of incredible treasures and animals.

Kings and Queens came to visit him and later said that he surpassed the hype they had heard.

Solomon was so rich that he ruined the silver economy.

We believe Solomon gave the teaching that was written down in Ecclesiastes 5 that we read earlier.

10He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver;

nor he that loveth abundance with increase:

Money can’t buy satisfaction.

In all of our heads or and maybe even our hearts, there’s a number that all of us have that we think if we could just have that, then we’d be satisfied.

Even if we don’t think that money could buy happiness, we think that we’d be satisfied if we just had a certain amount.

What Solomon found was that no matter how much he had, he was never satisfied.

I want to share with you a progression that Carey Nieuwhoff spoke of and when I do, I think you’ll see it all around you in the lives of people, marketing, and more.

More, Better, Different.

Being rich merely takes you on a progression of more, better, different. As you get more more money, you get more stuff.

Many people are stuck at this level for their entire life because they spend their money to get more stuff at such a fast clip that they never have enough money to move to the next progression on the dissatisfaction journey.

The “more” phase of searching for satisfaction in money and things can be as simple as buying stuff you don’t really need at yard sales and thrift stores.

There are people who barely have any money but every Saturday on the search for satisfaction through more. Their homes and garages and sheds and storage units are full of stuff they got a great deal on, that they couldn’t stand to pass up, in fact in their minds it would have been losing money to pass up on it because it was such a good deal…

It’s stuff they don’t need, may or may not use, but they’ll hold onto it because they got it for such a great price, and they’re constantly trying to find satisfaction in more.

The items could be stolen and they’d never know because they never use it, and they’d only be heartbroken over losing it if they somehow found out it had been stolen…

More, BETTER, Different.

If you move past the more phase, you realize that you aren’t going to find satisfaction in more stuff, or maybe you come into more money, you’ll be searching for BETTER stuff instead of just more stuff. In this phase you are super motivated by brands- getting the nicer brand of car- might be made by the same people at the same factory and sold at the same dealership as your previous car, but it’s the luxury brand.

You begin to buy the designer or boutique clothes.

You start to get picky about what you’ll buy, not because you’re making a conscious decision to save money, but because you’re wanting to only buy the best, to have better than what you had.

Many people stay in this phase and they love to talk about the incredible worth in the engineering of their car, the durability of their furniture, the true comfort of their clothes, etc.

When someone moves past more and better, they wind up at DIFFERENT. When someone has not found satisfaction in more or better, they start to use their money to buy what’s different.

They buy the limited edition. They buy the one of a kind.

Solomon made this progression. He details in Eccelsiastes 2:4-11

Oh, I did great things:

built houses,

planted vineyards,

designed gardens and parks

and planted a variety of fruit trees in them,

made pools of water

to irrigate the groves of trees.

I bought slaves, male and female,

who had children, giving me even more slaves;

then I acquired large herds and flocks,

larger than any before me in Jerusalem.

I piled up silver and gold,

loot from kings and kingdoms.

I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,

and—most exquisite of all pleasures—

voluptuous maidens for my bed.

Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

11Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind.

There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.

Solomon found that all along the progression of riches and stuff, there was no satisfaction.

So Solomon is our Antiques Roadshow Expert and he tells us the worth of money is far less than we think.

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.  Jim Carrey

Solomon says

Money isn’t the answer. Often it’s the problem.

11When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

Solomon also found that as soon as he had more money he had more people counting on him, looking to him, asking him…

More Money = More Problems

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase more money, more problems or “Mo Money, Mo Problems” which was made popular in our culture by a Rap song released by Notorious BIG after his death.

I don’t know what they want from me

It’s like the more money we come across

The more problems we see

That song might have been released Puff Daddy and Notorious BIG, but it was originally Solomon’s teaching.

12The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

The rich man doesn’t sleep well because he has so many worries, namely that he’ll lose everything, that it will be taken from him.

13There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

Solomon saw that money often brought harm to those who had it. It brought robbers, killers, people who wanted to come and take what they had. Then after they experienced this travail, this hardship, they had nothing to leave to their son…

14But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.

15As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

All that we have, all that we accumulate, we can’t take with us. All that we have, we can’t buy more time with it…

Naked we came into this world and we’ll leave it empty handed…

This realization makes it more clear what is important…

So, what are you saying Pastor Daniel? We shouldn’t have any money? Move to a cashless system. Reject currency? Give all of our money away?

No. I recently had a guy tell me that. He told me that he didn’t have money because money is the root of all evil, so he didn’t participate in the economy. Then he asked me to use my money to buy him a hamburger….

Money is not the root of all evil, the love of money is…

Money is not problem, so much as our trust of money is.

Our Money says “In God We Trust” on it and it is supposed to be a reminder of where we place our trust…

“Money is a good servant but a bad master.” – Francis Bacon

Jesus spoke this same idea when he asked, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul.

Isaiah 55:1

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

The greatest thing in life is free, but it was costly.

Salvation is a gift.