1. Ecclesiastes 4:8 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Summary of Ecclesiastes 4:8

Ecclesiastes 4:8 (ESV)

8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

This lonely man lives in this world without any immediate family. He also doesn’t look for people with whom he can build a relationship. He lives for his work. He works to become rich and prosperous. No matter how much effort this takes, no matter how tired it makes him, his work is everything to him. He works and works. He wants to build something substantial for himself. He does not use what he earns to enjoy himself or to help others. He hoards everything for himself. His only drive is to expand his property. He deprives himself of the good things in life. The result is that he becomes ever more lonely. He alienates himself from the people around him. No one is really his friend. He becomes more and more of a hermit.

The Lord Jesus calls people who only seek treasure for themselves foolish. We read in Luke 12:20–21 that the Lord Jesus says, “But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So it is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Someone who has lived only to increase their own wealth and not in love for his neighbour has essentially lived in vain. His life was nothing but the life of a sinful man. Your life is then a wrong and sad reality. There is then no comfort, no salvation – no future.

Those who live with Christ can no longer live for themselves. Then you want to serve the communion of believers with your talents, your money and your possessions. You also want to be of service to your neighbour in general. Then your life will be characterized by what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:24, Let no one seek his own good [or: advantage], but the good of his neighbour.