Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“The Blame Game”
“There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.”
Whenever something goes wrong in my house, my wife will ask, “What did I do now?” This frequent pattern has led me to one of two conclusions: First possibility, my wife is mistake-prone, and she knows it. Or the second, she is employing sarcasm to make the point that I tend to blame her for things that are probably my fault. I choose to believe the former because I cannot possibly be the problem!
In all seriousness, the blame game is literally as old as humanity (Genesis 3 records Adam blaming Eve for giving him the fruit to eat, and Eve blaming the serpent for deceiving her) and ingrained into its nature (my three-year-old blames her brother for “starting it” whenever she hits him). People just hate taking responsibility for their actions and shortcomings.
Read today’s passage carefully. Does anything stick out to you? When we carefully read verse 2, we see that the writer of Ecclesiastes actually blames God for his greed, saying, “…yet God does not give him power to enjoy them [wealth, possessions, and honor].” What are we to make of this text? Is the theological truth of this passage that God is some kind of childish and mean deity who allows us to accumulate wealth, but does not give us the power to enjoy them or allows another to take them away? Or, is the writer of Ecclesiastes (likely Solomon) a little jaded and his perception of reality a little off?
I would vote for the latter, but before we label Solomon an ingrate, let me ask you this question: Are you content with your life, circumstances, and wealth right now? Have you ever felt like God was holding out on you or trying to deny you happiness? Although most of us are too churched to say it out loud, I think we have all felt this way about something. But here is the truth: our lack of contentment has less to do with not having enough, and more to do with our desire for more. Sometimes we are so greedy that we cannot enjoy what God has already given us. This day, try to cultivate a thankful heart. Stop blaming God or others for the things you don’t have, but instead, thank him for all that you do have.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I need to stop the blame game, but it is so hard to avoid it. Help me to see clearly my reality so that I take responsibility for my failing actions; and then go to You for forgiveness and restoration. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 40