Reflections and Blog

An Ecclesiastes Thanksgiving

As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, I have been reflecting on God’s providence in our going through the book of Ecclesiastes. Certainly the truths we’ve heard from Solomon help us respond appropriately to the difficult events of our present time, but they also specifically prepare us for our upcoming holidays. Solomon is plain in his teaching about life’s insurmountable frustrations, yet he repeatedly urges us to thankfully and humbly enjoy life, even through the fleeting gifts we receive from God. Thus, we should have a new enthusiasm in our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations this year due to Ecclesiastes!

It occurred to me, however, that, though I have repeatedly in my sermons referred to the “good” and the “gifts of God” we experience in life, I have not given many specific examples. So I thought I would let Solomon himself provide us with examples from his book; below is a list from Ecclesiastes of different good gifts we experience from God during our vaporous lives. Some of these examples may surprise you!

Examples of What Solomon Is Thankful for:

  • Wisdom/Knowledge (Eccl 2:13-14, 26; 7:1-14, 19; 8:1, 5-6; 9:16-18; 10:4, 10)
  • Food/Eating (Eccl 2:24; 3:13; 5:18; 8:15; 9:7; 10:19)
  • Drink/Drinking (Eccl 2:24; 3:13; 5:18; 8:15; 9:7; 10:19)
  • Work/Results of Work (Eccl 2:24; 3:13; 5:18)
  • Joy (Eccl 2:26)
  • Good Times/Prosperity (Eccl 3:1-8; 7:14)
  • Appropriate Times (Eccl 3:11)
  • Righteousness/Doing Good (Eccl 3:12; 7:15-18; 12:13)
  • Times of Justice (Eccl 3:17; 8:12-13; 12:14)
  • Humility/Fear of God (Eccl 3:14, 18; 12:1-7)
  • One’s Lot (Eccl 3:22)
  • Companionship (Eccl 4:9-12)
  • Wise Counsel (Eccl 4:13; 10:12; 12:11)
  • Good Sleep (Eccl 5:12)
  • Money/Wealth/Possessions (Eccl 5:19; 7:12; 10:19)
  • A Proper Burial (Eccl 6:3)
  • A Good Reputation (Eccl 7:1)
  • An Inheritance (Eccl 7:12)
  • Escaping Immorality (Eccl 7:26)
  • Being Alive (Eccl 9:4-6)
  • Festive/Fine Clothes (Eccl 9:8)
  • Cosmetics/Perfumes (Eccl 9:8)
  • Love/Marriage (Eccl 9:9)
  • Societal Order/Stability (Eccl 10:17)
  • Sunlight (Eccl 11:7)
  • Time of Youth/The Prime of Life (Eccl 11:9, 10)
  • Delightful and True Words (Eccl 12:10)

As you consider this list, I hope you are stirred up to consider more of God’s simple gifts to you, to give God genuine thanks for all your good this holiday, and to obey Solomon’s counsel to enjoy these gifts now—not in a foolish and idolatrous way, but in a grateful and reverent way before God. Though we, of course, should be most thankful for God himself and for salvation in Christ, we do right in praising God for his other little gifts to us during our earthly sojourn.