September 10, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 8

There is a lot to comment on in this chapter.  I’m only going to comment on one verse, though, but I’d love to hear about any commentary you might have on the rest of the passage in the comments section.  I am sure you can help me understand what the author’s main point is, because, honestly, I had a hard time interpreting the chapter.  So, help a brotha out.

Allow me to comment on verse 10.

So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility.—Ecclesiastes 8:10

When I read this verse, the phrase “Leaving a Legacy” came to mind.  The author said that he has seen the wicked buried and they are soon forgotten.  Basically, they left nothing of worth behind after leaving this earth.

Who are the wicked to which he is referring?  It’s those who went in and out of the temple to receive their own praise.  In other words, it’s those who do things in order to look good and successful.  These self-serving people are soon forgotten.  They leave no legacy.

Many college athletes have dreams of becoming paid professionals in their sport.  When I spoke to a bunch of football players at Lindsey Wilson College, I gracefully assured them that most of them were not going to the NFL and that hardly anyone would even care that they played football at Lindsey Wilson College after they graduated.   I wanted them to understand that it was great to be a college athlete, but the only true legacy they could leave behind was a spiritual one.

If they wanted to leave a lasting legacy, that could happen by taking the time to share the gospel with teammates and classmates and discipling them in such a way that they could do the same thing for others, year after year.  I challenged them to imagine disciples still being made 10 years down the road simply because they chose to invest in others spiritually during their short 4-5 years on campus.  That legacy would not be forgotten.

My point of saying all this is that a lot of us focus on our work, our success, our image, our status, etc.  But, you know what?  All of that stuff will soon be forgotten and is futile.  If you want to leave a true legacy, take the time to disciple your family, a friend, a co-worker, a teammate, etc.  Teach them to make disciples.

I’m glad Jesus’ disciples were obedient to the Great Commission, because their legacy has not been forgotten.  In fact, it continues today.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the last link on the chain of discipleship.  I want that legacy to continue, as opposed to being too focused on things that will soon be forgotten and are ultimately futile.

Posted by: Rich Duffield


September 9, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 7

I tend to be a guy of extreme tastes. My wife says that I have an iron stomach. I love very hot and spicy foods like hot wings, hot salsa at Mexican restaurants, and hot sauce on my pizza. I even put hot sauce as dressing on salads sometimes. I also like really sour and tart things like sour patch kids and key lime pie. However my wife, who is a very wise and loving wife, makes me eat some meals that are less extreme at times. She knows that I need balance because if I ate really hot stuff every meal it might cause damage.

Wisdom lives in the area of balance. We as humans tend to be extreme in our thoughts and emotions. We use words like always and never to describe things. We are workaholics at times and lazy bums at other times. Some of us are overly passionate about everything and some are apathetic about most things. We are all capable of so many different thoughts and emotions but wisdom is the power to choose the correct response and emotion for the occasion.

Solomon gives an example in verses 15-18 when he talks about the righteous man who perishes. When I first read this, I had a hard time understanding what Solomon was getting at. How does a righteous man perish by being right? Then on further study I learned that term “righteous” and righteousness” do not refer exclusively to moral rightness but also to being right in one’s cause (ESV study notes). In other words, “Be not overly righteous” is a warning to not be a know-it-all. Sometimes you might be right but the cause is not worth fighting. Have you ever fought to be right with your friends or spouse and won the argument but hurt them and lost their trust? Maybe you even lost the relationship all together? To insist on always being right can be self-destructive and can lead to alienation. Paul talks about this idea in 1 Corinthians 6:7, “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”

Question to Ponder:

Where do you need to exercise wisdom in your life? Are you a person that fights to be right the majority of the time? Who do you need to practice Proverbs 19:11 with?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

September 8, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 6

Once again, we find real, raw honesty from Solomon. Ecclesiastes 6 tells us of a man who has enjoyed real power and wealth and yet is wrestling with the sovereignty of God. In the first few verses, Solomon wonders why some people have access to riches and yet are not empowered by God to enjoy them. Not only is he struggling with the sovereignty of God, he is also trying to figure out ethics and morality. Does a stillborn baby have it better off than someone who lives and yet never really lives?

I sometimes ask these same questions. Do you? This is what it means to be human. We don’t have all the answers. In fact, we have very few answers. Paul knew this well. He wrote some of the most exhaustive theology in the Bible; if anyone had it figured out, he did. But he acknowledged the limits of his and all of our minds in Romans 11:

Oh, how great are God’s iriches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 NLT)

Or how about when God responds to Job? He makes it clear that our finite brains will never truly understand His ways (and this is a very small portion of God’s response):

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7)

I’ve come to realize that I need to study and fight to understand the ways of God, but at the end of the day, I need to rest in the fact that “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

What did you learn from this passage today? What questions have you struggled with? Let’s dialogue about it together in the comments section below. Be blessed, CPC!

Posted by: Todd Thomas

September 6, 2014

Today you should read: Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

“The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5:12

It seems Solomon is trying to teach us a lesson here:

Money and stuff never satisfy

I am one of those guys who loves techy stuff. I love smartphones, laptops and tablets. I always look forward to getting a new one when the time comes and, if you are like me, you think in the back of your mind, “when I get this new thing it will be so great and I won’t want a new one for a very long time, maybe ever.” But then what ultimately happens? The new version comes out and you look down at your, now, old model of whatever it is you have. Then it begins again. This is the nature of money and stuff. The reason this happens is because we all have a massive, seemingly bottomless hole in our souls. We put a dollar bill or a new thing in it to try to fill it but it is like trying to fill an empty ocean with a water dropper. This hole, this void was made to be filled by a personal, loving relationship with your creator. Only an infinite God can fill the infinite hole in our souls. So, take it from Solomon, one of the richest men ever to live…

Money and stuff never satisfy

Posted by: Robbie Byrd