Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Man Has Little Lasting Impact

Ecclesiastes 3:9-22

“What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?  I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.  He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-11)

As a result of sin, just surviving demands constant work. Genesis 3:17-19 tells us, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” 

Man’s ability to get ahead so he doesn’t have to constantly struggle to survive is limited because as second law of thermodynamics tells us, everything deteriorates.  Food spoils, clothing and wooden things tend to deteriorate, metals rust, and stone and brick weather away without constant efforts to maintain them.  Proverbs 27:23-24 advises, “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.  For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?”  Ecclesiastes 10:18 warns, “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.”  Ultimately, no one can get ahead. 

As he stated in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, there is a proper time and place for everything, and in the proper time everything is beautiful and good.  Because man is limited by the natural laws of this world, he cannot fully understand how God works or what his plans are.   As a result. He is unable to plan or prepare completely for the future. 

“I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.  And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)

Knowing that man’s best efforts are only temporary, and eventually will have to be redone, Solomon says a person should enjoy his life and do what is right and good.  Being able to enjoy the fruits of one’s own efforts and having enough to eat is a gift from GodI Timothy 6:8 instructs us, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”  Instead of fretting about what we don’t have, we need to enjoy what we do have as a blessing from God.  

“I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.  That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)

Unlike man. God’s actions and works last forever.  Despite popular opinion man has little effect on the climate or nature,  There is a great deal of talk about climate change and global and how much carbon dioxide emissions are changing world weather, melting the polar ice caps and raising the ocean level.  Eighteen years of research by the US Geological Survey indicates that the average temperature world wide has fluctuated less than one half degree during the entire time.  A single volcanic eruption releases more carbon dioxide than all the fuels used for industrial and residential in the world combined would produce in a hundred years. 

While we have a responsibility to care for the planet, the impact of human activity is far smaller than many people believe.  In Genesis 8:22, God promised, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”  Ultimately what happens will be determined by God rather than by man’s efforts. 

While we have a lot of seemingly new technology, the basic principles of nature have not changed and the things we have are just refinements of what has always been present.  There really is nothing that is truly new.  As a result mankind will still be held to Gods original standard as to what they have done.
“And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.  I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17)

There is no place on earth that one can go to escape the effects of evil.  It is present in the best courts or governments, and in the most devout religious organizations.  As a result, God will judge every person for what they have done, whether their purpose and actions were right or wrong. 

“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.  For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21)

People need to understand that compared to God they are nothing more than one of the animals.  Their body dies and reverts to dust just like that of the animals.  Physically there is not much difference.  The real difference is the spirit which cannot be seen or observed.   While the bodies of both go to the same place the spirit of man goes to God rather than into the ground like that of an animal.   Death is a certainty that will come for every person, but people tend to ignore it, assuming it won’t happen to them.  As a result they focus on the wrong things.    

“Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)

The best thing a person can do is to learn to enjoy what he is presently doing because he doesn’t know how long he will live or what will happen when he is gone.   Now may be all the time he gets to enjoy his life, and he can’t change God’s plan.

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