Mick’s Memo – A Peculiar Truth
Sometimes truth comes to us in strange packages. Solomon, the very wise young King of Israel, became a very foolish and skeptical old King. Scripture tells us that his excessive accumulation of foreign wives took his heart away from God. In his writings we call Ecclesiastes, we have a window into the confused and frustrated mind that plagued his reflections on life. In his musings God gives an inspired picture of “life under the sun” without belief in life after death. He sometimes “gets it” and other times doesn’t. His view leads to such rash claims as this…
All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. Eccl. 9:2a a(NIV)
Is God unfair or uncaring? He assesses the many turns of life and concludes with this skeptical, fence-sitting advice…
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Eccl. 5:18 (NIV)
Ecclesiastes certainly reveals the massive intellect that God had given to Solomon. But it was intellect devoid of faith and denying the reality of life beyond the grave. Knowledge of God and claims about God, without faith in God’s revealed truth about eternal life, is nonsensical knowledge. God is the great “I am”, the One who always has been, who is, and who always will be. We are created in his image and as a result we share the latter two of these traits—we are and we always will be.
Solomon’s wisdom was not completely spent however, and nuggets of truth can be mined from his musings. One peculiar truth I have seen proven in recent days is this one…
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. Ecclesiastes 7:2 (NIV)
I have led three end of life memorials in the past 5 days. Solomon words ring true. Accepting and living in light of our mortality puts a premium on how we use our limited time. When we spend time with those in mourning, we see loss, grief, sometimes even regret. It reminds us to treasure the lasting and significant things. Feasting or “partying” as we now call it; can have an anesthetic effect, particularly if it is coupled with Solomon’s denial of life after death. “Now” becomes important without regard for “then”. While celebration is not inherently evil, a healthy respect for life’s brevity and the certainty of life after the grave, as revealed in the “house of mourning”, can lead to wiser choices.
This week we will spend a few minutes of our service completed a survey for our consulting process. It should only take 8-10 minutes and we will still enjoy time praising God in music and investigating truth about faith from Hebrews 11.
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!