What do you make of the reading from Ecclesiastes 5:15?
“As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand.”
Modern speech translations make the meaning of this verse clear. The New Living Translation reads, “We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.” The New International Version Reader’s Edition says, “Everyone is born naked. They come into the world with nothing. And they go out of it with nothing. They don’t get anything from their work that they can take with them.”
We came into the world at birth with nothing. When we leave this world in death, we take nothing with us. What is really important is what we do while we are here. Since we are going to die and we can take nothing with us, then our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions (Luke 12:15). We can take nothing from here with us to the world beyond but we can lay up treasures in the world to come. This is what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:16-21)
When comparing living a life of selfish pleasure without God with living a life of love and service to God, it is wise to remember that “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).