Listening and Cherishing (Ecclesiastes 5 & 6)
Listening Before Speaking (Ecclesiastes 5)
In our day, we emphasize the freedom of coming to Christ whenever, wherever, and speaking plainly to Him. I am grateful for that. But at the same time, we need to come to God with a sense of reverence and respect. We would not waltz into a king’s palace, put our arm around the guy on the throne, and begin telling him about every stray thought that flies through our minds. When approaching a king, it is best practice to wait until we are addressed before we begin to open our mouths. We listen for what He will say. God is a great king, yet sometimes we come to Him as if we are a little child barging into his brother’s room and speaking with the utmost casualness. Childlike trust in the Lord is admirable; childish disregard for His holiness is offensive.
We read, “Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Prayer does not equal words. Prayer involves words, but many words spoken to God does not constitute much prayer. In fact, a multitude of words can hinder the true power of prayer. Jesus commanded that we be wise in avoiding the ways of those who are “religious” but not born-again; when they pray, “they think that they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7). He follows this up with the blessed assurance that, “your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (6:8). Sometimes groanings from the heart can accomplish more response from heaven than a million words, because God knows what we are groaning about. A few words spoken in true faith can move mountains. We must recall that God knows it all, every time we set our knee down, every time we open our mouths to Him. But first, ask Him, “Lord, is there anything I don’t know that You want to show me?”
Cherishing Today (Ecclesiastes 6)
Fallen man has a tendency to naively assume that everything will go on as it always has. From the teenager flying down the highway at a hundred miles an hour, feeling invincible, to the man who neglects time with his wife and children to chase after lesser pursuits. Sometimes, the teenager fatally crashes; sometimes, the wife leaves or is diagnosed with cancer, or the man lifts his head to find his children grown and distant. If we are responding to the wisdom of God, it will always lead us to cherish the time and opportunity He gives daily. He will prompt us to love while we can, give while we can, and invest in the people He has given us, not assuming that all our tomorrows will surely have the blessings of today. Sometimes, a person’s “soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them” (Ecclesiastes 6:2). Sometimes, God grants a blessed life but only a short few years to enjoy it.
Perhaps, like mine, your mind is still stirred by this truth, which applies to all of us: “As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:15). No aspect of this earthly life will amount to anything but vanity – that is, except for relationships and eternal souls. Forget your financial investments, how are your eternal investments? How is your investment in your relationship with the living God? If we do all the ”vain” things in a way that honors the Lord, we are investing rightly. How is your investment in your children’s eternal souls, your spouse’s eternal soul, your co-worker’s eternal souls? Are we edifying the souls of our brothers and sisters? These are the questions we must ponder now, so we can have great joy on the last day.
The Rock Church