The Garbage Collector

Jeff Munroe

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:8

All are from the dust, and to dust all return. (3:20)

Christianity has been perverted by something called “the prosperity gospel.” The perversion comes from mistaking the God who provides for all for our needs with a God who will give us whatever we want. Prosperity preachers are popular—who doesn’t like hearing that God wants to make you rich and give you blessing after blessing? The Jewish people steer clear of this heresy by reading Ecclesiastes at the Feast of Tabernacles, when they are celebrating God’s abundant provision. Qoheleth’s words keep everyone’s feet on the ground, particularly here when reminding us that we are all heading towards dust. The life of faith isn’t some sort of rah-rah, get-rich-now scheme. The prosperity gospel is vanity.

In an article in the June 2017 issue of Christianity Today, Eugene Peterson calls Qoheleth “the garbage collector in the kingdom of God. He goes up and down our alleys and backyards, empties out our wastebaskets and attics, and hauls off everything that has accumulated.”

What idols and false gods have you been chasing? We all do it—wealth (and not even extravagant wealth, just enough so we never have to worry), success, respect, peace of mind, happiness—the list goes on and on. None of these things are bad in and of themselves. But over and over, as Peterson reminds us, Qoheleth is telling us that these are “gifts to be enjoyed, not goals to be pursued.” —Jeff Munroe

Prayer: Thanks, Lord, for this call to deeper faith.