At this point, you know something is up. “OK, I have to admit the Bible says that money is the answer to everything, but how can that make any sense?”
Before going into that, a comment is to be had regarding apparent contradictions in the Scriptures. Just because contradictions seem apparent doesn’t mean they are. There are lots and lots of commentaries available regarding them. If you are swayed by the argument of Biblical contradictions, then you have been lazy.
Care should always be taken in using Ecclisiastes as a barometer for the Biblical ideal. Not all sections of Bible are meant to show us a Biblical ideal. Are we to follow the Israelites example and invade Canaan and kill all the women and children? What about Moses saying it was OK for men to divorce their wives for any reason they wanted?
A clue to the second is Jesus’ reaction when that conundrum was brought up by the Pharisees in an attempt to confound him. “Moses allowed it because your hearts were hard, but that wasn’t the way it was from the beginning.” In other words, it was real, but it wasn’t the ideal.
The entire theme of Ecclesiastes is about what isn’t ideal—hopefully you all know that by now. It contains the impressions of one man, Solomon who found life wanting. He speculates on everything he has done, built, chased, and achieved, and found them wanting. That’s why we often turn to Ecclesiastes when we find our life wanting. We are left with Solomon’s conclusion that all of the seeming satisfactions we pursue are futile, and the only satisfying pursuit in life is to follow God. That is the ideal.
But I think beneath that surface is a running conflict between the real and the ideal. Solomon’s ideal is that money shouldn’t be an answer, but admits that sometimes, at least on a humanly level, it is.
God pushes us toward the ideal all the while realizing that we aren’t going to be there. We are in the real. We shouldn’t need to pursue money, but in the real, we have to and he understands that.
Don’t feel ashamed feeling a need for money. Man does after all live on bread.