Living from the Grave BackwardsJanuary 28, 2021
I Love Adversity?February 11, 2021
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In Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, Solomon is first bragging about, then lamenting, all the material possessions he accumulated over the years. You should read Ecclesiastes, no matter your age. If you are young, and heed Solomon’s warnings, you will avoid so much meaningless clutter in your life. If you have a little age on you, you may learn to let go of your meaningless clutter.
Please take a moment to read Ecclesiastes 2 below. It will take you 90 seconds. (I timed it.)
The first question to ask is, “Why did Solomon chase after all these things?” He was rich already. He was famous already. He had inherited King David’s vast kingdom. Can you see that this is such an important question to resolve, because it applies to so many of us?
Why chase after so much stuff? Because Solomon was trying to fill the holes inside him. We are all born with holes inside, and we spend some part of our lives trying to fill them with our own version of Solomon’s wine, women, and song. Yet nothing can fill those holes but Jesus, and his love, and his presence, and his friendship.
Yes, that is right: Jesus can be your best friend. And when he is, he fills all your holes.
Blaise Pascal put it this way: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.”
C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
It turns out Pascal and Lewis were a lot smarter than Solomon, who apparently never figured out how to fill his holes. Have you?
My friend Joe recently observed, “When we’re young, we spend too much time chasing after things. When we’re old, we spend too much time trying to hold onto those things.”
Do you have anything in your attic or basement, or closet, that you really do not need? What a dumb question. Of course you do. You may even be renting, heavens forbid, a storage unit to house all the excess overflow! Like the rich fool who said,
“This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones – and rent extra storage units. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:18-20, emphasis mine)
For years I had these boxes of stuff I absolutely did not need. They were just clogging up my house, as well as my precious feng shui. But I could not seem to get rid of them. Because … “I might need them one day. I might wear them … one day.” Never mind I had not for years.
And they mocked me with a condescending sneer as I walked by. They knew I could not muster the will power to clean them out. But I finally screwed up my courage and I had a yard sale. And then I gave away everything else, just to be free of them. What a cleansing experience.
Imagine that: a simple yard sale became a yard sale of the heart, which then freed me from my possessions that possessed me.
I can hear Jesus saying to you and to me, “To come clean, to be free to fully surrender and follow me, have a yard sale of the heart.”
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth—in your attics and closets and storage units. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven—by giving away all that stuff that has a hold on you. For where your treasure is, there your heart—your focus, freedom and your priorities—will be also. (Matt. 6:19-21, Italics mine)
Let us vow not to end up like Solomon, who filled his holes with meaningless things that ultimately had a hold on him:
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecc. 2:11)
Will you have a yard sale of the heart?
Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house.
I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.