Took theWeez to school this morning & slipped & slid all over the road, which had been deceptively hiding its icy-ness from me, causing me to think all was good, right, & safe in the world of driving this a.m. Thankful for AWD Subaru, & for no one in my way when the ‘slipperies’ attacked my tires. Goodness. Tricksy road.
Home again, looking at my 18 year old son this morning, watching him wrestle with the weight of the day – preparing to go to school while not feeling up to par… but pushing through just the same. For some reason, it inspired me to ponder the “meaning of life” stuff… which of course ends up sooner or later in Ecclesiastes. Read through. Tried to pretend it was my first time through it, to read & receive it fresh. Without the years of familiarity coloring the words, categorizing the ‘writings’ as that “bitter & negative” book in the Old Testament that says life sucks & most of it is a waste of time, energy, & resource.
And so I prayed for new eyes. And read. And noted what stood out to me.
The writer, “The Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem,” writes that “everything is vanity.” Some translations say, “everything is meaningless.”
And by everything, he means EVERYTHING. And then he tells us about it, as though we are supposed to learn from him & his experience, his attempts to find something, anything of substance in the world that we live in.
So he sought after wisdom & knowledge, only to observe:
For in much wisdom, there is vexation, & those who increase knowledge, increase sorrow. 1:18
Then he pursued pleasure & the accumulation of stuff.
Whatever my eyes desired, I didn’t not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, & this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done & the toil I had spent in doing it, & again, all was vanity, & a chasing after wind, & there was nothing to be gained under the sun… the lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth with gain. This also is vanity. 2:10,11 & 5:10
Makes me think of different things that people live for, focus upon, chase, even. Education. Wealth. Status (or even the appearance of it.) A title (or 10.) The perception of respect. Entertainment. Pleasure. Accumulation of stuff. .
Might be just that I’m feeling incredibly rich these days, the George Bailey, “no man is a failure who has friends,” kind of rich. Watching some crashing & burning of people who’ve been living the Ecclesiastes-life… looking for something MORE than they have, pursuing it as hard & fast as they can… finding vanity. Emptiness. Discontent. Pain.
Makes me want to wrap both hands around contentedness. Thankfulness. Check, & double-check to make sure that I’m chasing, looking, & paying attention to the important stuff – the stuff that lasts.
Knowing Christ. Deep & real relationships with the people in my life.
Not comparing myself to others – what they have accomplished. The stuff they have. Or bemoaning difficult, negative, or confusing life circumstances.
Embracing a life-focus & life-investment that is worth every penny.
Last week in LA, we opened our meetings with worship. Simple, 1 guitar & 1 keyboard, with familiar songs. One of them, a blast from 1980, was O Lord, You’re Beautiful from Keith Green. I’ve been singing it over & over, as a prayer… which is how I think it was written.
Rain goes with coffee.
So say we all.