You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but you have not enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink…
The prophet lifted his warning voice, and entreated his sinful brethren to "consider their ways," to solve for themselves the curious and alarming fact, that while toiling for their temporal gratification, and sowing broadcast with liberal hand, the return for such labours was so meagre and unsatisfactory, even as if one had been shortsighted enough to deposit his hard-earned wages in a bag with holes. The history of nations, like that of individuals, is ever repeating itself.
1. Those persons come under this description who pride them, selves on the accumulation and possession, of wealth.
2. That man is dropping his money into a "bag with holes," who is spending any large proportion of it in things which minister chiefly to pride and vain glory. Ruskin says, "A tenth part of the expense which is sacrificed in domestic vanities, if not absolutely and meaningly lost in domestic comforts and incumbrances would, if wisely employed, build a marble church for every town in England.
3. Those persons are putting their wealth "into a bag with holes," who are robbing God's Church of her lawful tithes, that they may have the more to leave to their children. Inherited wealth is as often a curse as a blessing. Idleness is a source of misery, and there is no deadlier bane of character. The wise father will give his son the education which will fit him for the trade or the profession which he may prefer, and then allow him the privilege of pushing his own fortune in the world. Bishop Doane said of the men who should "make a State," that "they are made by self-denial." Instead of the selfish question of the votary of the world, How much can I get out of this life in the way of dress, high-living, envy, admiration, amusement?" may our endeavour be this, "How much shall this life of mine (so short and so uncertain) get out of me in loving devoted service to my Lord?"
(John N. Norton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
WEB: You have sown much, and bring in little. You eat, but you don't have enough. You drink, but you aren't filled with drink. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm, and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes in it."