Read Ecclesiastes 9.
Call it a rat race or a rut, but life without hope is depressing. Looking at life from only a horizontal perspective, the same stuff happens to everyone. Nice guys sometimes do finish last. So, where is the benefit for one who loves God and tries to do what is right?
When Solomon presented life "under the sun," it was always with a futile tone. But then in his wisdom he added the view from God's perspective. The conclusion is that only those who live for the LORD can truly appreciate what God has given to them and enjoy life.
Dr. Norman Geisler once asked, "Should a Christian feel bad when he feels good because he's afraid if he felt better he might feel worse?"
How do people show they are living a life of gratitude to God for all He has done and possess great hope for their future? Here are four practical principles to observe and each of these is a personal choice we make.
1. A thankful person with hope enjoys their food. (v.7)
One who is depressed often loses their appetite. More than saying a prayer of gratitude before eating, this refers to actually taking time to appreciate the meal. Too often in a fast-food world, people are hurrying to get on to something else. Without slowing down the pace and engaging in good conversation, food can become an necessary inconvenience.
2. A thankful person with hope gives attention to their appearance. (v.8)
A person who is depressed will most often show it in the way they look. Their countenance will be down. They cease to care about their weight, clothing, hair and face. While we cannot always judge a person by their outward appearance, one who lives a life of gratitude and hope cannot hide it.
3. A thankful person with hope loves their family. (v.9)
Specifically, the wife is mentioned here. A marriage is a life-log commitment regardless of the changes in circumstances-for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish. Remembering that a spouse and children are gifts from God renews the appreciation and care of the relationships. Forgetting that fact and treating wedding vows as dispensable is an affront to God and a sign of selfish ingratitude.
4. A thankful person with hope engages in their work. (v.10)
Even notice a person who does not like their job? They become lax in details. They only want to do the minimum to get by. They cannot wait to get off work. But one who is grateful to have a job, to be able to care for their needs, and appreciates the opportunity God has given them, shows up energized.