Monday, June 6, 2016
A well educated preacher often stated at the beginning of his sermon, “I’m as dumb as a sack of rocks.” My dad used to say, “I’m a jack-of-all trades, but master of none.” Somehow those two statements seem to go together! Although there is some irony expressed, each includes a “pinch” of wisdom. If one reads the book of Ecclesiastes, he will see what a man of wisdom says.
Solomon begins with these insightful words, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly without meaning! Everything is without meaning!” (1:2 IEB). Some beginning, huh? Yet, you cannot help but agree with Israel’s third king as you read through these twelve chapters.
Think about it. If you’re my age you can remember what was called “the country doctor”? If you didn’t experience such, just watch reruns of Gunsmoke (1955-1975) or Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983) and you will know what I mean. Do doctors still make “house calls”? Very, very, very few! The country doctor has evolved into multiple specialists which your family physician directs you to. Surgeons specialize as do dentists. So much information forces specialization! Remembering all that information is difficult, even impossible for some politicians who seem to have good forgetters!
As one reads through Ecclesiastes, Solomon seems to be fed up with life. He even states, “I concluded that dead people are better off than the people who are still alive. And, those who have never been born are even more fortunate.” (4:2-3 IEB) and “the day a person dies is better than the day he was born.” (7:1 IEB). He states, “I decided to find out why true insight is better than foolish thinking.” (1:17 IEB). Yet, he discovered that regardless of what man does, life is meaningless if there is a missing quality.
Have you ever watched a movie, or seen it in real life, where a person walks out on his family because he “wants to find himself”? Solomon may not have left his palace, but he did sidestep God! Jonah tried that but failed! Regardless of what life deals you, you have purpose. The apostle Peter’s dialogue with Jesus is often found in scripture, whereas his brother Andrew has very little. Yet, if it had not been for Andrew there would have been no apostle Peter! Neither Matthew nor Mark give us her name, but when the gospel is preached, she will be mentioned (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9). You and I may never be famous, but what has meaning is when Jesus tells us, “Well done!” (Matthew 25:21). That will be a worthwhile legacy!
Solomon concludes his book showing what has value in this life.
“Now, the conclusion of the whole thing has been heard. Here is my final advice: Revere the one true God and obey His commands. Why? Because this is the most important thing that anybody can do!” (12:13 IEB).