March 1, 2016

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?

Solomon is a truly sad enigma to me. He was indeed blessed by God with a magnificent intellect, on the level of Newton or Einstein, but he still wandered off into idolatry with his multiple wives. I can’t help but think that if he had been smarter with women, his end and his legacy would have been very different. Here we have an example of real truth, but Solomon himself didn’t enjoy it, because he allowed the devil to blind him and suck all the joy out of him. That said, it is worthwhile to consider the truth in this passage. It is indeed true that there is nothing better than to recognize your purpose for being on the earth and to find satisfaction in fulfilling that purpose. Solomon saw that as labor, something hard and tedious, but there is intense satisfaction and even joy in accomplishing things by putting your all into them. That’s one of many reasons God doesn’t give us lives of ease, with everything handed to us. People who are raised like that generally have pretty pathetic ends. The truth in verse 25 is most ironic, because it is exactly why Solomon didn’t enjoy the latter part of his life, yet he is the one who recorded this truth for posterity. We can indeed not even live, much less enjoy life, apart from God. We tend to forget that, in practical terms even if not logically. Just yesterday I was watching an interview with an astrophysicist in relation to the confirmation of the existence of gravitational waves. As a believer, he was pointing out that God is outside of Creation, because otherwise He would be a created being Himself. Without Him, none of Creation would even exist! When we get a real hold on that fact, getting into right relationship with Him automatically becomes the highest and most urgent goal of our lives. The degree to which we enjoy the abundant blessings that God has prepared for us is in direct relationship to the level of our fellowship with Him.

This profound truth is something the devil desperately tries to keep us from grasping. As a pastor, I not only need to grasp it for myself, I am charged with communicating it to those under my care. It can frankly be very frustrating, even heartbreaking, when people stubbornly refuse to acknowledge this truth. I see so many who have “pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Tim 6:10) because of their blindness in this area. At the same time, it is immensely satisfying and joyful when I am able to bring someone into genuine knowledge of the truth. Since that is what I am commissioned to do, it is only right that I would enjoy it, just as this passage says. I am not to give up on people, no matter how many times I am disappointed, but rather rejoice with the angels when one does come into the family of God. (Luke 15:7)

Father, You have not assigned me an easy task, but You have certainly blessed me along the way. Thank You for all who are in Your family because of what You have done through me. Help me never give up, either physically or emotionally, but rather keep fulfilling the commission You have given me, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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