The Mind of the Pastor

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but life often stinks!  The world is a mess, the news is depressing, then you’ve got your own problems.  Strained relationships, problems at work, problems at home, health issues, it can be overwhelming.  You may even be asking, “What is the meaning of it all and, where is God?”

It get it.  This is where faith comes in.  Oh, I don’t mean live in denial and pretend that everything is grand.  Faith does not demand that you refuse to recognize the reality of the world around you.  No, faith demands that you take a good hard look at the world as it is and cling to the certainty that God is good, and God is sovereign.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, the preacher basically says, “Understand that if you choose to deny the existence of God and you refuse to live by His rules - this is it.  There is nothing more.  Life is an empty, vain experience.  But if you look to God in faith, this is not the end of the story.  If you are His, not only does He give all things, He gives you the ability to enjoy life.”

In chapter 9 the preacher gives this rather depressing testimony about there being little difference between the righteous and the unrighteous in their life experience.  Right in the middle of it he makes this curious statement, Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.  Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.  Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

If you read the whole chapter, you begin to see the message the preacher is trying to convey.  It really is fairly simple.  You understand that simple does not mean easy, it just means, it is not all that complicated.  The message comes down to this, death is unavoidable, life is unpredictable, so trust God, live by faith and enjoy whatever blessings God gives.  The response of faith is not to sit around and brood but to embrace life with joy and passion.  It is to have the same heart as the apostle Paul who wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:14, Thanks be to God who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession.  The response of faith is to:
•find joy in life’s simple pleasures - 9:7
•to be joyful on every occasion - 9:8
•to treasure our families - 9:9
•to do our best at all times and in everything - 9:10

Life is hard and some of us struggle with life’s difficulties.  Some of us bear great sorrow and heartache.  I’m not at all suggesting that you paste on a smile and pretend things are great.  I’m urging you to trust in a God who is good and who is sovereign.  Rest in Him.

Have a great week!