Solomon’s wisdom pours forth in the poetry of Ecclesiastes. The book truly captures a philosopher’s view of what life is in this world, but also captures something of another world. Throughout the book are famous lines that are echoed throughout literature, poetry, art and culture.
There’s a time for peace and there’s a time for war.
There is nothing new under the sun.
Everything is meaningless…
…a chord of three strands is not easily broken.
And this too is chasing after the wind.
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow.
In today’s reading, we learn that knowledge, wealth, pleasure and work are not what this world is all about. In fact, they are meaningless. What’s interesting is that there seems to be both a small-scale point and a large-scale point to the book. On one hand, the author repeated concludes that we should thus enjoy food and drink and the enjoyment of each day. On the other hand, the book is written to direct our attention away from the meaninglessness of this world and to the true value of God’s Kingdom. Being able to live a life that reflects both of these values is a challenge, but one that we will see played with throughout the book.
My favorite quote from today: “God has made everything beautiful in its own time. He has placed eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” I think I read that line a dozen times tonight and I like it more every time.
2 Corinthians 6
This passage gets my heart racing. It’s another one of those Biblical speeches that is so moving and powerful it makes me want to take on the world for Christ (which I won’t be doing tonight because I have a diaper I have to change as soon as I am done here). But Paul is writing to people who are opposing him or who have given up on him or who are trying to support him. When they hear this part of the book, how could they not all stand and applaud one who has given so much for God’s Kingdom? How can they accuse Paul of anything?
And after he tells them all he has suffered and yet all he has done in the face of suffering, Paul proclaims, “O Corinthian friends! I have always been honest and opened my heart to you. Can you only open your heart to me?!”
Paul cares. Paul is passionate. Paul has such a heart for the people he ministers to and converts that he is pleading with them to open their hearts to him again. That is a man who lives a life after Jesus’s own heart.