Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A Thought for Tuesday 5 May 2015

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 2:11 NKJV

The author wrote of houses and vineyards, gardens and orchards, servants acquired and born, flocks and herds, gold and silver.  “I had greater possessions … than all who were in Jerusalem before me” (vss 4-10).  Yet he also wrote that by wisdom, imparted from Above, he was able to see that none of these things mattered.  None of these things made him any greater than those who came before him, no greater than those he was to rule.  “Indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.”

Among the many battles of the so-called “Culture Wars”, the comfort and satisfaction and vanity of possessions and the honor we think they bring is the one sure way we so easily shoot ourselves in the foot and diminish our capacity to speak to and for Truth in these “Culture Wars”.  The Bible speaks of the “dust to which we shall all return”, and even the “Preacher” (of Ecclesiastes) points out that great or not, rich or not, wise or not; the great equalizer is the grave.  The reality that we are no better than those we spent a lifetime condemning or looking down upon is brought home in wisdom, in Truth … and in reality.  Maybe we can buy a nicer casket, but we will still be “naked” before The Throne of Judgment and will not be asked about our portfolios or possessions.

Nor will we be asked whether we made a proper “profession of faith”.  The Bible speaks of judgment according to our “works”, our “deeds”, our sense of “righteousness” (justice and mercy), and our love of Christ (The Word) and for His Church (His faithful).  We will even be judged according to how we treated the “stranger”, the “alien”, “widows and orphans”; those who are powerless and unable to speak for themselves.  So the “profession of faith” we made will not be judged according to our words.  We will be judged according to our choices in how to live that faith and how we used our many blessings to build up the Body of Christ rather than ourselves.

Yes, we should appreciate and be thankful for everything we have been entrusted with; but we are compelled by the Great Commandment to love the Lord our God - and our neighbor - with all we have and with all we are.  “Talk is cheap”, we say when we really want to know about someone’s intentions or sorrow when we’ve been wronged.  Is our God, in whose Image we are created, that much different?  According to the Scripture, we are to strive toward “perfection” in seeking to become the best expression of our faith and our God we can possibly become.  Our “stuff” has nothing to do with any of it.

“Seek first the Kingdom of God … THEN all these things you need will be given”.  Not the other way around.



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