So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
I just returned from a road trip with my elderly Father. We try to take one each year as he loves to travel and is no longer able to drive any great distance on his own. This year we drove to Kentucky to visit the Ark Encounter as well as the Creation Museum. Let me just say…WOW! They were both fascinating and I learned so much. I love digging into Biblical history and both of these exhibits filled me with awe and wonder at our amazing Creator. Upon exiting each exhibit, we browsed through their bookstores. I was like a little child in a candy shop. So many books! So many things to read and study and learn!
But as I looked through book after book, I started feeling overwhelmed. I mean, all of this information is good and it seems that I should learn more so I can more readily defend my beliefs in Creation. But honestly, I could spend a lifetime reading and studying this and I still wouldn’t know everything there is to know. I think that is why the writer of Ecclesiastes warns us: “Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.”
The teacher in Ecclesiastes understood that God gives us this life to enjoy. It is a gift!
“So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.”
So is that it? Is our purpose in life to simply live for our own pleasure? Of course not! Which is why a few pages over we read the conclusion of the author’s search for the meaning of life:
“Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
Fear God and obey his commands. That’s the Point! Jesus actually simplified this for us.
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
To love God, we must KNOW God! Bible study is good when we study to know and understand God and his character better. However, studying to simply acquire knowledge doesn’t do anyone any good. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote of this in his 1st letter to the church in Corinth.
Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3
Knowledge may make us feel important, but love is where true strength resides. When we study our Bible to know God, our love for God grows. And as our love for God grows, His love in our lives overflows to those around us.
I loved spending the last week traveling with my father. We laughed and played and learned many new things together. I believe that God looked down upon us and said, “It is good.” We also learned so much about God and were awestruck at his wonder and power. Yes, I learned many things that I could use to debate creation vs. evolution, but more importantly, I received a greater understanding of how much God loves us. And that is what I need to show to others.
As I read through today’s passages in Ecclesiastes, for me everything simplifies to 3 simple statements:
- Know God
- Love God
- Love Others
That’s the point…
Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for the time you gave me this past week traveling with my Father. I am still amazed at your might and power as I saw you with fresh eyes in the story of Creation and Noah’s Ark. Everything you made is good. We are the ones who have corrupted your perfect creation. But you responded with great mercy and love and are in the process of redeeming everything. Help me to know you more so I can love you more and show your love to those around me. In Jesus name I pray…Amen.
Today’s post was written by Michele Barnes.
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, working with numbers, writing, or working with women. In the evenings, she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But one of her favorite passions is playing with her grandson and laughing at his bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.