What I'm Learning in Ecclesiastes - Part One

In between the two worship services our church provides, I teach a Sunday School class. I’ve been doing it since August 2008 and while it does take a lot out of me physically and sometimes mentally, I get a lot out of it. That may sound odd to you, but we’re going through books of the Bible so I not only have to teach the text, I have to hear it and respond to it.

For the last few weeks, we have been in Ecclesiastes. I’ve never spent much time at all in Ecclesiastes, but it has been a refreshing eye-opener for me. I’m learning lots. With a few blog posts, I want to share some of the things that I've been learning.

1) Time is short.

That may not sound like a profound statement but that’s because it isn’t. Any fool can tell you that you don’t have much time on this earth. The problem is, we’ve too few fools to remind us of this fact. Or if we do, we block their message out. Is it fear? Annoyance? Chapter 1, verse 2 tells us that life is a vapor. It’s a breath. Here one moment and non-existent the next. No one wants to be reminded of this fact but we are fools if we ignore it.

What’s worse is that this vapor that we call life - we have no idea when it will end. We don’t get a perspective of our earthly boundaries. Some of us will get to die old and see death coming. Others of us won’t. Most of us do not have a single clue (I’m excluding those who have been given a terminal medical prognosis as they have a much better idea about their lives than I do about mine). Did the men and women onboard the 9/11 flights know that when they boarded their lives were over?When I turn the key to my truck, will it be the last time? I have no idea. What I do know is that I want my life to count and I want to be found doing something worthwhile and good for the kingdom of God. I don’t want to come to the end of my days and say, “I’ve wasted it!” the way this man did:
For me as a boy, one of the most gripping illustrations my fiery father used was the story of a man converted in old age. The church had prayed for this man for decades. He was hard and resistant. But this time, for some reason, he showed up when my father was preaching. At the end of the service, during a hymn, to everyone's amazement he came and took my father's hand. They sat down together on the front pew of the church as the people were dismissed. God opened his heart to the Gospel of Christ, and he was saved from his sins and given eternal life. But that did not stop him from sobbing and saying, as the tears ran down his wrinkled face-and what an impact it made on me to hear my father say this through his own tears-"I've wasted it! I've wasted it!" (Don’t Waste Your Life - John Piper)

Time is short. Let's not waste it on the trivial and innane. Let's obey John Wesley who told his Methodist preachers, "You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work." This isn't a waste of time like so many other things are. We'll visit that idea in the next post.