The Futility of Hoarding Money

Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

Jerry A Collins



® What value should we place on money?

Does God expect us to enjoy the money He gives us?

What happens to a person who hoards money?

Maybe you have heard statistics like these before: that one out of every four verses in the Gospels deals with attitudes about money. Or, that Jesus had more to say about money than about heaven and hell put together. What kind of attitude should we have about money? Where might I cross the line and actually sin with the money God has given to me? Solomonís search for significant purpose and meaning for life lived here on earth includes the relationship between our lives and our money. We will learn that it is futile to hoard money. To become a reservoir instead of a channel with our money.


Here is a description of corrupt officials who by legal or illegal means squeeze money out of the population under them vs 8. In the process, the very ones they are authorized to protect, they instead threaten, the poor. He counsels not to be shocked or surprised by this knowledge. While tyranny is never good, it may be preferable to anarchy. The rule of a single tyrant and his system is better than the rule of a mob. If one has to make a choice, let the king vs 9 have a proper voice and allow the authorities to be in control. However, beware of their bureaucracy and do not be surprised by the system they establish to extract more money from you. There is evidence that even Solomonís rule over the people produced this very result. For instance, Israelís demand that Rehoboam, Solomonís son and successor (1 Kgs 12:1-10), reduce his oppression suggests that under Solomon his own officials had made financial demands upon the people to support his opulent lifestyle (1 Kgs 4:7, 22-23). So over 37 cents a gallon of gas is tax. 6% of retail purchases in Michigan are tax. (Review some of my regular bills for stated surcharges, taxes and other misc. charges). Give to Caesar what is ceasers and to God what is Godís.


Loving money, Solomon says, is a futile and empty motivation vs 10.

A. Increased wealth produces increased anxiety 10-11. The human desire outruns acquisitions no matter how large or many they may be vs 10. There is always a nicer one to buy or a newer version to have. And when wealth increases there is a matching need to manage it because people come out of the woodwork to get a piece of the action. You attract all kinds of parasites. So he must keep an eye on them. Stock chat rooms are full of these parasites. People popping online to attract your investment into this stock and keep you there long enough for them to take the money you invest from you. They lie, and deceive and then walk away. Then you want to talk about anxiety!

B. Increased wealth produces the need for increased vigilance 12. Labor may bring sleep but wealth brings sleeplessness and the fear that a blunder may result in the loss of everything. For example, more wealth in the home may lead to the need for burglar alarm systems and/or other hassles associated with protecting it. It may be lost or threatened by a stock market crash, depression, recession, personal misfortune or fraud. While all of this increased anxiety and increased vigilance is happening there is no corresponding increased enjoyment! There is not time for that. You can have more and not want for more but when you have more and want more of it you will be pursuing meaninglessness. It is like spending your life trying to produce a square circle. It is ludicrous. Futile. Utterly meaningless to love money and pursue its increase in your life! And besides the NT says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim 6:9-10). READ IT!


Here we see at least two ways that hoarding money and becoming a reservoir instead of a channel can bring us misery.

A. We are miserable because of the potential our wealth has to be lost 13-14. This hoarding of money is called a grievous evil or a depressing misfortune. Literally to become sick about or over this potential. This truth is emphasized by the reference to the person who carefully hoarded his wealth and then lost it all thru some misfortune so there was nothing to leave his son vs 14. (My investment in the stock market is an example of this)

B. Even if you succeed in keeping your wealth you will lose it when you die 15-17. Death itself is such a misfortune that overtakes everyone and eventually robs him of his wealth. Everyone enters the world with nothing and leaves it the same. Since a person cannot take any of the fruits of his labor with him, he really gains nothing from his wealth vs 16. Hoarding wealth is as meaningless as trying to catch wind vs 16. Itís like telling my son to take his fish net and go out in the yard and catch some wind and let me see it. There is no net gain. He emphasizes the misery of hoarding money in vs 17 as this person sits in gloom all throughout his life fixated by the need to hoard his money and like Gollum he is overcome with frustration, sickness, sleeplessness and anger. He will die and then what good will it all be?


A. Enjoy your wealth 18. Solomon has already urged us to enjoy the life God gave us (2:24-26; 3:12-13, 22). The point is to get enjoyment not possessions. In contrast to the misery associated with pursuing and having and protecting more, enjoy what you have as God enables you too. This is good and fitting or proper. In fact this is our reward God says to find ways to enjoy it. Not advocating hedonism but the simple enjoyment of life day by day as each passes.

B. Your wealth is a gift from God 19. God is the origin of whatever it is you possess. Wealth belongs to God (Psa 24:1; 1 Cor 10:26) and He places His wealth where He wishes (1Sam 2:7). God has no problem with us enjoying the wealth He gave to us.

C. Enjoying Godís gift keeps life in proper perspective 20. This gladness with which God occupies us keeps us from brooding over the brevity of our lives. Described as the few years of vs 18. God makes life so significant that it seems really short as we enjoy whatever wealth it is He gives to us. Time will go by rapidly because it is enjoyable. Chandler just told me that he was not ready to be home yet because of the enjoyment of being on staff at Hiawatha. Enjoying the life and the wealth God gives us instead of pursuing and hoarding and demanding for more will do that for us.