4.05.2013

ECCLESIASTES

Ecclesiastes is a book of the bible I read years ago when I was trying to sort out some things in my life.  The author (yet unknown) was trying to do the same.  It is the tale of man's search for the meaning of life.

The writer observes that man's endeavors, no matter how successful, do not exempt him from suffering.  Or death.  Nothing born of a man's hand is eternal.  Life is fleeting and does not guarantee happiness.   All is in vain.

On the face of it, Ecclesiastes is a tale of discouragement.  What's the point of living?  The author supposes often throughout the chapter we might as well just eat, drink, and be merry.

Oddly, I like this tale. For in my view, life is not the point, but the journey.  We are pilgrims working our way through a process of becoming who God created us to be.  That takes time and effort and pruning and failing and starting over, and it's difficult and painful.

But it's not the end result.  It's just life on the planet.  It's just the here and now. 

If we give this obstacle course our best effort, we grow and mature and begin to see the larger picture: God is calling us into relationship with Him.  He loves us desperately, no matter what.  It seems to take a lot of struggle before we get that.  I think it's because we're stubborn and prideful and think life is about us.  We're off track from Day One. 

But, God is patient.  And when our time on the planet is done, we'll have full understanding.  In the meantime, the author of Ecclesiastes suggests we enjoy the temporary blessings we have (like newborns and chocolate) while working toward the life after this one.  He concludes: "Honor God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man."  Everything else will come to an end.

I'm OK with that.  
 



18 comments:

Sharon said...

We just need to remember who we are, God's children created in his image. You're right; we forget sometimes and sometimes we forget to find joy in the learning and in the journey.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

So true! We should remember it is only a journey toward our real home. I enjoyed how you summarized it all.

Joyce said...

It is a bit of a 'downer' book, but I do love the verses in the third chapter reminding me there is a time for everything. They have come to mind so often this year as we have grieved the death of our 17 year old niece. I know there is a season to mourn and also to dance. And also that this life is not the end.

You shared some deep thoughts this Friday : ) Have a nice weekend!

Jenelle Leanne said...

Excellent post (hey, that starts with "E" too!)

Ahem. I'm a bit loopy this morning.

We studied Ecclesiastes in a Bible class in high school, so it's always had a special place in my heart.

Michelle said...

Love this. Thanks for the reminder!

Jessilyn said...

Wonderful post. I think that I have been very stubborn on my relationship with God. Perhaps stubborn isn't the best word, self-absorbed is more fitting. I read blogs like this and it makes me feel more hopeful that maybe with a little more effort on my end and letting go and letting God as most people say will help me get over my self-abosrbed ways and help me enjoy the blessings God sits infront of us, whether its as small as a piece of chocolate a co-worker sets on my desk. Thank you for the post and the motivation today.

Jen Forbes said...

You're a wonderful teacher! I'd be first in line for your class...

Guilie said...

I'm not religious, so I abstain from commenting on the post itself, but I did want to congratulate you on your blog itself--super layout, very nicely done :) Love it!

Betsy Brock said...

life is not the point, but the journey. I love that! :)

thanks for finding me on the challenge!

Me said...

Life is a journey and is fleeting and does not guarantee happiness. So true. Beautifully written. :)

- A fellow blogger from A to Z!

Elizabeth said...

I use to find Eccles a rather fatalistic book, but when reading it again last month I saw it with different eyes. I perceived it more as a book of coming to terms with what is genuinely important and worthwhile.

Joy said...

Thank you so much for the kind comment on my blog! God blessed me with excellent Christian schools which really gave me a great foundation in the Bible but as I study it now, I always learn something new I didn't know before.

The book of Ecclesiastes is really hard to digest sometimes. It's so depressing until he gets to the conclusion at the end. It is often attributed to Solomon but you are correct that the author is not really known.

Solomon was blessed with wisdom and riches by God but his 700 wives and 300 concubines turned his heart to idols. This caused God to divide the kingdom into the northern and southern kingdoms after Solomon's death. It is hoped that if Solomon did write the book, it was written at the end of his life and showed that he realized that his great riches and the foreign idols were meaningless and that as a result, he turned his heart back to God.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Not a book of the bible I am familiar with now I am interested in checking it out

Dana Martin said...

Love it. Keep up the good (read: God) work. It warms my heart.

Dana
Waiter, drink please!


Erick Farish said...

Good stuff man! I love this book! We get so caught up in what seems important and we get distracted by so much that does't really matter. I love how the writer wraps it all up at the end!

Erick @ A Brief Sinfonia: Loving You're Wife From A-Z

Jerralea said...

"We are pilgrims working our way through a process of becoming who God created us to be." There. You summed up the purpose of the Christian's life very well!

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Love this post Mare. I think I will settle down with Ecclesiastes tonight. Thank you for the brush up!

Ann P said...

Nice that i found you at a to z
i am also participating, good post
on Ecclesiastes is a wonderful book in the Bible. and your brought a good point from it, and of course you said it all in the concluding para.
Keep writing
Best