As we come to the end of the book of Ecclesiates, I have reflected on it all and realized the whole book culminates in a few simple key advice:
- Be content with the life you have and find joy in the days you have been blessed with
- Life lived without a higher purpose is meaningless because our toil and status on earth does not hold any currency in the afterlife
- Finding purpose cannot be done apart from God
Solomon concludes Ecclesiates with a reflection on what gives meaning to life and what finding higher purpose looks like
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.Ecclesiastes 12: 13 NIV
We make our lives meaningful on earth by using it to secure a place in God’s kingdom for all eternity. Our life takes on meaning when everything we do in public and in secret is geared towards living in complete obedience to God’s will and purpose for our lives
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.Ecclesiastes 12: 14 NIV
These words are certainly worthy of pondering over.
I recall in my younger years I did something that I still regret to this day. Although it was a single incident that perhaps may not even be remembered by parties involved, I certainly remember and it colors that time of my life. Have you had a moment’s lapse in judgement where you said or did something that changed everything? Today’s reading hits the nail right on the head with this proverb:
As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.Ecclesiastes 10:1 NIV
In this scripture, folly is contrasted against wisdom and honor and has been described to be the undoing of both. Folly can come in many forms- a small act of unkindness, a moment of anger, a rash decision or a harsh word can cost a person a great deal. It can cast a shadow on one’s bright future, can close doors of opportunity and can bring great misfortune. We need to apply ourselves to wisdom in all our endeavors and a wise heart dictates that there is a proper time and place for everything
Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a person may be weighed down by misery.Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 NIV
So how do we respond to this advice? The psalmist prays “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12) and I today I pray same of God.
Dear Heavenly Father, teach us to realize the brevity of life, help us to number our days and redeem the time you have given us. And above all, give us a heart of wisdom so we are not entrapped by folly. Amen.