Thursday, October 16, 2014

Developing A Meaningful Life

Ecclesiastes 5:1-20

“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.   Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3)

Many times people go to a church or cathedral at an emotional time of their lives.  Other times the speaker or music program evokes a tremendous emotional response.  Under the grip of their emotions people frequently make promises they would not otherwise have made.  Solomon warns not ot allow such emotional feelings to cause us to make such promises because doing so is evil.    It is better to not say anything than to commit to something without a real commitment to do it.  Only a fool makes promises without being sure he can and will keep his promise.  Proverbs 10:19 warns, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”  Dreams reveal what a person is thinking about, and a lot of words show a lack of careful thought.

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.  Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?  For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7)

God is not pleased with foolish promises.  He expects people to keep them and will punish those who do not.  It is better not to make the promise than to make it not keep it.   I made a mistake or I didn’t realize what it would require is not an acceptable excuse.   Why deliberately do things that make God angry and cause him to reject what you have done?    Dreams and words are worthless without action.

“If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.  Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.” (Ecclesiastes 5:8-9)

It is frustrating to watch people being taken advantage of by those in power, but frequently one is unable to do much to prevent it, especially when political figures or governmental agencies are involved.  No matter how much power they have, he has more, and will hold them to account one day.    Frequently those in power forget they are dependent on those who do the most menial of jobs for their very life.  Their food is produced by the laborer thy abuse.   Any profit is for all the people, not just the ruler or boss. 

“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.  When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)

A hoarder or miser will never have enough to satisfy him.  There will always be something he doesn’t have yet or some situation he hasn’t planned for.  The more he owns, the harder it is to take care of it all,  It becomes necessary to have storage facilities and security guards, accountants and lawyers to keep track of everything, which are quite expensive.  Eventually much of the stuff is no longer useful, and becomes just something to gloat about but serves no useful purpose. 
“The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12)

The man who has to work for his living is physically tired and sleeps well, even if he didn’t get enough to eat, but the rich man had someone else do all the work and isn’t tired enough to go to sleep.  Instead he spends the night worrying about someone taking what he has or where he is going to put it. 

“There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.  But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.  ” (Ecclesiastes 5:13-14)

People can get so caught up in saving things they hurt themselves.  When a woman died of starvation in Missouri, they found a can with ninety thousand dollars in cash under her sink.  She chose to die rather than spend her money.  A man I know spent so much moving things he has=d collected over the years that he was forced to file bankruptcy.  Others have had their homes condemned as unsafe because of the amount of things they have hoarded.  New designs and deterioration make the things they have saved worthless, and they have nothing left of value to pass on to their children. 

“As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.  And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?  All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.” (Ecclesiastes 5:15-17)

It is a terrible thing that a person would waste their entire life accumulating belongings, because when they die, they will take no more with them than they brought when they were born.  At birth they weren’t even wearing any clothing.  When they die, the old clothes and personal belongings will be left behind with their body, to be disposed of as others see fit.  Everything he has accumulated will be worthless to him in that day.  The world has the idea that the man who dies with the most toys wins, but the reality is he is just as dead as anyone else, and somebody else gets all his toys.  His obsession with getting things is like disease that causes him to sacrifice his happiness and health getting and worrying about all the things he had, but he just as well have been trying to save the wind. 

“Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.  Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.  For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

It would be far better for a person to spend his earnings for food or drink and enjoy what he earned than to hoard it.  God has given him the things he has to enjoy them as a reward for his effort.   He can choose to remember the blessings and his life will seem short and sweet, or he can focus on the problems and his life will seem long and hard.  It is the person’s choice.  

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