August 6, 2013 by lellielieb
This morning I read chapter 7 of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Our pastor preached on this little book earlier in the year and it was awesome. Ecclesiastes can be very confusing because it sounds so jaded, so sarcastic in places. Yet it is full of wisdom and insight from the wisest man ever, so today I did a little prospecting and found several gems of wisdom to carry into my day.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:4
It’s natural for us as humans to avoid things that are sad. Very few people feel called to work in funeral homes, but I’m glad that some people are. Funeral homes are the extreme case, however. Most of us would rather be with a group that is laughing than with a group that is serious and sad, but it is wiser to seek out those who mourn. Why? Could it be that this is where real things happen, where we really learn to trust God, where we really get to know one another? Laughter is great. We’re even told in Proverbs that it works like a medicine, but it is also a gift. It’s just not as funny when we seek it. Let laughter come naturally and seek those who mourn for that’s where wisdom is found. I’ve learned, too, that God often sends little gifts of laughter even in the midst of mourning. Those times are really sweet!
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. Ecclesiastes 7: 8 and 10
I’m an empty nester. Yesterday we were discussing how much college our youngest son has left. He told us he will probably stay at school next summer in order to finish sooner, so this was probably his last summer at home. I always have trouble at the ends of things anyway. I teach history. I’m nostalgic and sentimental, but I can also see the wisdom in these words. Every day brings me closer to heaven. The end of each adventure opens the possibility of a new one–new things to experience, new things to learn. It’s wonderful to look back at precious memories, but I’ve learned that we always think the old days were better than they were. THAT is mercy!
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
I have a terrible tendency to take harsh words to heart and then to remember them forever, yet I can also come up with plenty of harsh, angry, nasty words myself. I don’t often say them TO the person, but that is probably worse. Why do I hold others to higher standards than I hold for myself? Answer: I am human and a sinner. It helps to remember this. Thanks, Solomon for today’s lessons. Thank you, Jesus for loads of Grace!