Words, daydreams and the fear of God—these are notes from my study notebook while reading through Chapter 5 of Ecclesiastes. It's actually the gist of verse 7 [http://goo.gl/O3KSC]. Solomon says daydreaming comes from worrying too much, and a multitude of words produces careless speech. But in the end (as at the end of the book–Eccl 12:13), the important thing is fearing God. He alone holds every life in His hands. Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon weaves bits of wisdom and insight between large batches of cynical observations made over a lifetime. There is a point to it all.
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King Solomon was considered the wisest man in the world, not by his account, but the Scriptures and many contemporaries testified of this, including the Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia). He was well-educated, accomplished, a man of the world, a powerful world leader, yet coming to the end of his life he questioned it's value—"Everything is pointless" (Eccl 1:2)
Although he had amazing wisdom, he didn't seem to use it with women. He had hundreds of wives and hundreds of concubines, and he admitted this had ruined his life. Though he had amassed incredible riches and enjoyed every aspect of life he could imagine, he felt empty. He had fallen into a dark cynicism eclipsing all his success. Something, everything, was missing.
Sounds like many Americans. Even in a declining economy, we still maintain our edge in consumerism. Way too much could be said and has been said about all that. And yet, with all that we have as a nation, many Americans are dissatisfied with their lives, wanting more, feeling unfulfilled, and just plain unhappy. Just ask, there's plenty of opinions about it all. And there's plenty of blame to go around.
Solomon's view of life is similar to nihilistic philosophy—life is pointless. A realist may see the negative, even fall into cynicism, but looks for a way to move forward regardless of how difficult or discouraging things are, but not expecting any happiness along the way. What about a person of faith, especially a Christian? Their take may be, "I know it's not all pointless, so Lord, help me see the point." I've definitely fallen into the camp of cynicism on more than one occasion. I'm familiar with the path leading to it, yet I keep returning to the way of faith. What about you?
Last post I posed a question regarding what season your life is in now. I want to follow that up with some life observations. If you're experiencing an upswing of success in life, don't forget where you started. Remember Solomon, who had it all, and wondered if there should be more. Many a successful person, victorious athlete, or deal-closer, has fallen into depression after the fact. This was the apparent case of Alexander the Great.
If things seem to be somewhat flat or level (re: boring!), enjoy it—it won't last. Many times in ministry when things are relatively calm, our office staff would wonder if there was something we ought to be doing. The calm wouldn't last, so we learned to enjoy whatever break there was from the usual frenzy of activity. Frankly, many Americans (including Christians) don't know how to rest and relax.
If it seems you're headed down into a valley, remember, this isn't the end of the road. It's not the last stop, but preparation for whatever is the next adventure. Whatever the season of life, whatever cycle you're going through—keep things in perspective. Those of us with faith have a hope, a living hope, not in ourselves, but in the One we trust. Our last stop is eternity with Him.
Recently, a good friend of mine needed brain surgery—that can put life in perspective, real quick! His main concern was for his family, but he had great peace going into the surgery. The one question he did have was—"Lord, how do you want to use my life once I survive the surgery?" [I've put it in my own words]. What's your perspective? Are you like the nihilist, the realist, or a person of faith? Are you stuck or do you see beyond the circumstances?
Oh, BTW, my friend came through the surgery well and with a good prognosis. We're still praying for direction from the Lord. It's all a matter of perspective!