Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Sharing--Highlights From Ecclesiastes

There's a lot of good stuff in this book!

One of the most fun, encouraging and motivating things I've experienced in a small group Bible study was when we shared a verse that we found especially interesting, encouraging, or that just stood out to us that we read in our quiet time during the week--our highlights. I know many of our readers also read the Bible so I thought it might be fun to share my highlights with you and you could all leave your highlight of the week in a comment for me. I just finished reading the book of Ecclesiastes (only 12 chapters) and found it to be funny, a bit depressing and challenging so want to share some of the verses I marked with you here. In my future "Share Your Highlights" posts, I'll just pick one verse from the week, but I was so impressed with Ecclesiastes, written by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon and inspired by God that I just want to tell others about it! Here is a list of the verses that stood out most to me (all are from the International Children's Bible):

Ecclesiastes 1:18 says:
With much wisdom comes disappointment. The person who gains more knowledge also gains more sorrow.
(Doesn't this sound like "ignorance is bliss" to you?)

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 says: 
The best a person can do is eat, drink and enjoy his work.  No one can eat or enjoy life without God.  
This got me questioning why people couldn't eat or enjoy life without God.  Perhaps it is because it is only because of God that we have food or anything since He created it.  Without God, we have nothing.

Ecclesiastes 3:13 says:

God wants everyone to eat and drink and be happy in his work.  These are gifts from God.

There it is again, talking about enjoying or being happy in our work.  I was surprised to see the work is a gift from God.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 says:

Two are better than one.  They get more done by working together.

I find this to be true in marriage.  It would apply to other things as well.  Being active in a church enables me to have a part in reaching more people with the gospel and encouraging people to follow Christ than I could do just on my own.  I think the key phrase here is "working together."  The two have to be on the same page with a common goal to work towards.

Ecclesiastes 5:5 says:
It is better not to promise anything than to promise something and not do it.

This was just a good reminder to be careful what I promise.

Ecclesiastes 6:6 & 9 says:
(6) Even if a person lives 2,000 years, it is sad if a person can't enjoy the good things God gives him.  (9) So it is better to be happy with what you have than always to be wanting more.  Always wanting more is useless like chasing the wind.
I think this is why people living in poverty in other countries seem to be happy, because they are content with what they have.  When our short-term mission teams from church visit foreign countries where the people are very poor compared to what we have, they always report back how happy the people were.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 says:
It is better to have respect than good perfume.  The day a person dies is better than the day he was born.
Wow, this one got me thinking.  I couldn't help but ask why?  Is life such a hassle that we're better off dead?  All I could come up with is that if a person dies and goes to heaven, then yes--they are definitely better off.

Ecclesiastes 8:5b says:

A wise man knows how to do the right thing at the right time.

We all need wisdom!  There have been times in my life when I didn't know what the right thing to do was.  How about you?  I need to remember to ask God daily for wisdom.

Ecclesiastes 9:4 says:
 But anyone still alive has hope.  Even a live dog is better than a dead lion.
 I laughed when I read this one and had to share it in my Circle of Friends study last week. 

Ecclesiastes 9:9 says:

Enjoy life with the wife you love.  Enjoy all the days of this short life God has given you here on earth.  It is all you have, so enjoy the work you have to do here on earth.

I liked that "Enjoy life with the wife" phrase.  Solomon had lots of wives though so I wonder if he had just one special one that he loved most since he wrote "wife you love."  And there's that theme again about enjoying the work we have on earth.

Ecclesiastes 10:2 says:

A wise man's heart leads him on the right way.  But the heart of a foolish person leads him in the wrong way.
Better make sure if you tell someone to "follow your heart"  that the someone is a wise person!

Ecclesiastes 11:1 says:
Do good things wherever you go.  And after awhile the good you do will return to help you.
This reminded me of the saying, "What goes around comes around."  See, it's not all depressing!

Ecclesiastes 11:8 says:
A person ought to enjoy every day of his life.  This is true no matter how long he lives.  But he should also remember this:  you will be dead much longer than you live.  After you are dead, you accomplish nothing.
Does "Seize the day" and The Dead Poet's Society come to mind?  Life truly is a gift from God and each day is a second chance.  Life really is short so we need to make the most of every day we have!  Also, keeping in mind that our life is so short compared to eternity and what we do with Jesus during this short time we have on earth determines where we will spend eternity.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 says:
Now, everything has been heard.  Here is my final advice:  Honor God and obey His commands.  This is the most important thing people can do.
 This is how I want to live my life.  I love Jesus so want to honor and obey Him.  It is the least that I can do in light of all God has done for me.  Also though, God knows way more than I do so I want Him to lead me in the way He wants me to live. 

It's the first five verses of chapter 12 that describe old age, not chapter 11 that I mentioned in my Friday Fragments.  The point is, serve the Lord while you're still young, before your body starts falling apart! 

Sorry this is such a long post but hope you took the time to read my highlights.  Future posts will be shorter since I'll only choose one (or maybe two) verses that stood out to me during the week.  I read Ecclesiastes over a period of 3 weeks.

So, please share one of your highlights from the week with me in the comments or feel free to comment on anything in this post.  Have a great day and enjoy life while you can!

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Unknown said...

I liked your interpretation, "Life is short and every day is a second chance..." How merciful of our God to let us live, day after day, after day. "Behold, today is the day of salvation!

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