Wednesday, July 9, 2008

randon thoughts on Ecclesiastes

Enjoying life is not just a scheme contrived by sinful man when he should have found nothing more enjoyable than Calvin’s Institutes. Ecclesiastes tells us that “Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God.” Hmm, good enough to repeat a few times. “So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage.” Rejoice in his own works? As a Christian who faithfully spanks little Johnny, feeds him when he’s hungry and changes his poopy diapers, pets the puppy, and scrubs the carpet when Johnny’s got “the bug,” should all be a reason for rejoicing. Getting up to go to work, thanking God for giving you yet another monotonous day of it filled with bitter hormonal women, grumpy guys, and bratty kids (other people’s of course ;) This should make you smile and fill your healthy lungs with God-given oxygen. “For who can bring him to see what will happen after him? For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur?” It’s comforting when we think about how we are not expected to know what will occur, we are just supposed to act like whatever will happen happens because of God. That’s when faith wakes us up with a smack on the head. “As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything.”
I can’t bear the burden of answering all of my own questions and consoling all my own fears. I could easily consume myself with the minute entities that make up my life, or the next decision that will want a handshake and a piece of my soul. I would only be asking for an overwhelming burden that I cannot carry. The weight on my shoulders will only be lifted when I lift it up to God, Who’s yoke is easy and His burden light. That is my privilege. “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” That is our duty.
“I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” After searching the world for answers and pleasantries, the wise man concludes that we should rejoice in this meaningless ramble, not in spite of it. We are to rejoice in the days we have on this earth, though they come to naught when we are dead. Enjoy the work at hand while you have hands to work. The last enemy, death, comes to all. That is a fact. What precedes that is the effect of our lives, the effect we have on other people, and the effect we leave behind. We do not have to master all skills before being the master of this earth. This is our inheritance under Christ, our toil under the sun is nothing new, but it is our duty and gift. Moses was not the master of speech before being called by God.

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