One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, September 2, 2013: Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22
10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NKJV)
Ecclesiastes is a small book with a big message. The wisest man in the world, Solomon, let his mind wander into questions about the meaning of life. For the most part, his thoughts are "under the sun" (that's a recurring phrase). In other words, he has more questions than answers. "Vanity" is an often-used word.
Occasionally, glimmers of God-given revelation break through. One such passage is Ecc. 3:10-11. I find 4 major truths in these 2 small verses.
1. Each one of us has a GOD-GIVEN TASK!
You have a purpose. He placed you here on earth for a reason. Your life has significance and value. In fact, Scripture indicates in several places that He knows you by name.
2. There is BEAUTY in fulfilling your purpose in God's timing.
Our lives were made for beauty. It inspires us and brings out the best in us. Whether it be the breath-taking view from a mountain top or the flickering hues of a fireplace, we cherish the beauty of God's creation. Even more, there is a beauty of knowing God's will in His perfect timing.
3. Your life is tied to ETERNITY.
I believe there is something eternal planted by God inside each one of us. In moments of worship, or in times of prayer; in communication with dear friends, or in caring for others -- at times we feel the breeze of eternity blow across us. Longings and desires spring up that call to God for His very best to break into our here-and-now. Hope. But, this hope is bigger than 70, 80, or perhaps 90 years here on earth. We have eternity inside us.
4. God Himself is the only One who can UNLOCK this for you.
It seems in this last phrase Solomon reverts to his old cynicism. But, perhaps not. In the natural, he is right. No one can by his own ingenuity figure out God's plans. We need Him to explain what He has for us. Paul echoes this when he tells us that "no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God" (I Co. 2:11). The natural man cannot figure it out! (I Co. 2:14) But, "we have received ... the Spirit ... that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." (I Co.2:12)
Perhaps some of the most significant words written in modern times were penned by Rick Warren with the first sentence of his classic The Purpose-Driven Life. "It's not about you."
There is something bigger than you and me. It is the purpose of our great God. It is one of the paradoxes of Scripture: Lose your life and you gain it. Keep your life and you lose it.
You and I were created for ETERNITY. My prayer is that we all, like Paul lay hold of that for which He laid hold of us (Phil. 3:12). That is the meaning of life.