Recently I have been in many environments where God is not a thought, but instead conversation and actions are all about the things of this world. I found myself frustrated, annoyed, irritated, and impatient. Physically I don’t think I was showing these things; but as we know, God looks at the intentions of the heart. I spent time praying that God would give me more humility, meekness, gentleness, patience, and self-control. In addition, I prayed that the joy of the Lord would completely overtake me so as to be salt and light for His glory. In other words, I was asking God to work through me to show His love in spite of myself, in spite the condition of my heart.
This week I was sharing this with a pastor friend of mine. I expressed my deep concern that my life doesn’t seem to be that of which would draw people to Christ. The old Steve seems to emerge and I hate it, I hate him because he doesn’t glorify God.
My friend brought me to some texts in Ecclesiastes and I am thankful for God’s Word and my friend’s counsel in speaking truth in to my life. He encouraged me to dig deeper into Ecclesiastes, so that is exactly what I am doing, and my take away from the first couple chapters is the topic of this short post.
The first chapter and most of chapter 2 the writer is speaking of spending a lifetime chasing after the things of this world. He was a king, so he had the means to chase after anything and everything; and he did. The first part of chapter 2 he shares this exhaustive list with us:
After this did not satisfy him, he determined to search after the wisdom and knowledge of this world. He determined that this too was useless; he equated it with chasing the wind. The writer also made a point that I think many of us can relate to; all of this toil keeps your mind, heart, and emotions racing to the point where there is very little real rest when we sleep; we race after the desires of the flesh even in our sleep.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 makes a powerful point about 2 things God gives to 2 different people. The first person is the “one who pleases Him”, the second person is the “sinner”. Take a look at what He gives to each:
To the one who pleases Him, He gives Godly wisdom, knowledge, and joy; not to be confused with worldly wisdom and knowledge, and superficial joy.
To the other person He gives “the business of gathering and collecting”.
Isn’t that amazing?!?
I used to be that guy! Gathering and collecting drunken experiences, sexual conquests, and then it became chasing after success and money, which then became materialism. Isn’t it interesting that in all that time, and even until now, I had no idea that is exactly what God gave me; “the business of gathering and collecting”. All that time I thought I was getting exactly what I wanted, and I was…but there is a way that seems right to man, but the end is death, eternal death.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.