Ecclesiastes 4-6 and Psalm 92
We were designed to enjoy our time on earth, the blessings that God has given us, however great or small. For those who come to an understanding the God is the creator, the joy that comes is not measured by certificates on the wall or money in the bank. True friends and a loving family are worth more than any of these. There is more pleasure staying up too late playing dominoes with friends than driving the latest model whatever car. I’m so very thankful for the blessings God has given me that cannot be counted in human terms.
I waded into the discussion of friends a few weeks ago, so I won’t repeat that today, but I can’t pass up one of my favorite passages:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Most often this description is used in terms of a marriage relationship and that is a great thing, but when we extend our circle of influence to include others, the strength gained is incredible. Stranded cables are much stronger than single wires. Some years ago we visited a shipyard museum that included a mock-up of how ropes were created in ancient times. The twisting and turning of strands into incredibly strong ropes were essential for all kinds of purposes for ships, etc. The strength came combining strands, tightly twisting individuals together. The imagery is something I really enjoy and the memories are from a time when we traveled with our four children. Joyful for our blessings, these are fond memories indeed.
For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
The book of Ecclesiastes seems to have a lot of meaningless statements, but it includes some positive notes as well:
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. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
What a concept, “God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” What’s it like to be so busy being glad that I don’t have time to sit and think about old age?
A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. Ecclesiastes 6:3
We get to enjoy this life. Sure, there will be troubles, tough times, even horrible times, but we need to invest time in enjoying the blessings God has provided. The key is that God is the provider and without God there are no real blessings.
I stumbled upon this video by actress Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory, that provides some great insight that I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, of people have watched.
Mayim simply states that she is Jewish and rather boldly and gently explains that her joy is found in her relationship with God through religious traditions steeped deep in ancient heritage. As a scientist and celebrity (whatever that really means), she took time last year to add the video to the volumes of YouTube archives. She does a great job of explaining that we’re not here by accident, that humans have a God-given soul designed to love, laugh, reason, create, sing and enjoy life.
It’s a great first step for many who are far from God, who are turned off by religion or perhaps judged by those who call themselves Christians. The video encourages me to think about how I might describe the reason for the hope I find in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). Peter exhorts us to be prepared. Mayim gives us a great outline to gently and eloquently state our case for Christ. Lord, help me to joyfully explain my faith with such simple eloquence.
Thoughts about serving others
This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.