Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. — Ecclesiastes 5:19
In my line of work, I’ve seen many people who are suffering. There are people who were orphaned at an early age; elderly who have no one to care for them; folks with severe illness for which they cannot afford proper medical care. I’ve seen children who are hungry and families that have been irreparably broken.
At The Fellowship, we are dedicated to helping the poor, lonely, needy, and infirmed. However, aside from our responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in need, I’ve taken away another important life perspective.
With all the many difficulties that people experience in life, I realized how sad it is that those of us who – by the grace of God – do not suffer greatly, often fail to fully appreciate the blessings that we have been given. Instead, too many of us, too many times, do not recognize the gifts that we have been given. Even worse, sometimes we squander them.
While so many people would do anything to have a parent around, others fail to keep in touch with theirs or get into petty fights with the people who gave them life. While many people lack any sort of family, others neglect the family they are blessed with, never making the time to be with them. While some people struggle to buy the basics, like food and medication, others of us are blessed to afford vacations, but then complain that the flight was delayed, or that the food was too cold at the restaurant, or that the bed in the hotel was uncomfortable.
We might have houses, but are unhappy with their size or that they haven’t been updated lately while others scramble for shelter on a daily basis. We resent expensive healthcare, but there are plenty of people who have no medical help at all. The list goes on and on.
It’s one thing not to recognize our many gifts from God, but it’s another to waste them by not enjoying them to the fullest.
In Ecclesiastes we read, “ . . . when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.” When God gives us a gift, we must make sure that we enjoy it. Anything less makes us ungrateful and simply foolish.
If you wouldn’t throw out a million dollars, don’t let go of the invaluable relationships with your family. If you wouldn’t dispose of an expensive piece of jewelry, don’t let the gifts of health, provisions, and abilities go to waste. Enjoy every moment and every blessing. There is enough suffering in the world; we need not add more by throwing away the wondrous gifts we have been given.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President