Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Needs of the Soul (Ecclesiastes 6)

"All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied" (Eccl. 6:7).

The Preacher could not escape the daunting reality of life’s emptiness. People spend their energy storing up treasures for themselves, pampering the needs of the flesh while neglecting the needs of the soul. “All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied.” Man is more than a one-dimensional being. He not only has a body, he has a soul. The substance of the man is that which is made in the image of God, that which is religious, emotional, rational, and immortal. To feed the body, therefore, while starving the soul is vanity above vanity.

We see the effects of this materialistic thinking running rampant throughout our society. People are searching for happiness on a physical level while giving no thought to the needs of their souls. Is it any wonder so many lives end in despair and frustration? True fulfillment and happiness only come when the needs of the soul are met. These needs can only be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, who alone reconciles us to God—the source of life and happiness. Nothing else can truly be enjoyed when God is absent, when the Creator is ignored or held in contempt.

Charles Bridges asks the crucial question, “What good is there that will fill the man?” What will bring lasting satisfaction and make all other enjoyments shine even more brightly? “Only when as a sinner he finds a reconciled God in Christ, his way to God—his peace with God,” Bridges answers. ‘ “The sweet savor of Christ’—writes an Indian missionary—‘is the only antidote to the wretchedness of man.’ Put aside this high privilege—or neglect it—and then to die with all the unfulfilled responsibilities of a long life upon his head—who can calculate the issue for eternity?” Only misery waits for those who have pursued worldly gain rather than resting in the grace of Christ. The Preacher was right—it is better not to be born than to live without ever finding reconciliation with God through Christ.

If you have been neglecting the needs of your soul, there is still time for you to pause and consider your need of Christ. In Christ, there is no cloud hanging over eternity, there is no emptiness in the enjoyments of this life. Turn to Him today and find the rest and satisfaction that nothing under the sun can give.

How can you “feed your soul”? In what ways do you neglect to feed your soul every day? What do you need to do to give your soul a more balanced and nutritious diet? What things do you need to cut out of your life so you can grow spiritually?