Making something of Ecclesiastes

Wheat close-up.

Making something of Ecclesiastes

By Pastor Jeffrey Tucker


I’ve recently spent some time in Ecclesiastes. Previous readings of Ecclesiastes left me scratching my head… What is this book supposed to teach me? Why is this book in the Bible? 

After a few days re-reading it, though, I’ve really come to appreciate its wisdom. I’ll try and summarize it for you:

Vanity of vanities! All is vanity… a striving after wind.
Wisdom? Vanity.
 

Self-indulgence? Vanity.

Living wisely? Vanity.
Toil? Believe it or not… Vanity.
 
There is, the Preacher says, “a time for every matter under heaven”:
 
  • birth and death
  • planting and plucking
  • killing and healing
  • breaking down and building up
  • weeping and laughing
  • mourning and dancing
  • casting and gathering
  • embracing and not embracing
  • seeking and losing
  • keeping and casting away
  • tearing and sewing
  • silence and speaking
  • loving and hating
  • war and peace


Each of these has its beauty in its allotted time, he supposes.

But in men’s hearts, God has bred a desire for things eternal… For something that lasts. And yet, eternity remains beyond us (for now). Only God can do things of eternal consequence. We can’t add to it, subtract from it, or even begin to fully comprehend the scope of it.
 
So, to be joyful in our time, to do good as we live, to eat and drink, taking pleasure with toil as they come, is, so far as the Preacher can tell, God’s gift to men.
 
But this life ends in dust.
 
Enjoy it while you can. Hold all things with a loose grip, for their coming and going are beyond your control. Ask few questions of God and you’ll spare yourself some angst.
 
Steward what’s been given.
 
Remember that the promise of “more” is an empty one.
 
Finally, fear God. Keep His commands — the greatest and eternal of these being love.

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