The Dancing Puritan

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thinking about Your Best Life Now

Many of us do not think. We just do things. There is no time to think when a baby is crying. Who has time to analyze anything when the boss is demanding and the grass needs mowing? It seems that there is no time to think when duties are barking orders.

Thinking is painful. Thinking is not for cowards because it brings grief and sorrow. If you don't believe me, ask Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:18). Real thinking causes one to have to face stark realities. Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, did some hard thinking about the meaning of life. He put theories to the test and the results were not all pretty.

I said in my heart, 'Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself' (2:1).

Solomon theorized that the meaning of life might be found in pleasure. He tested laughter, wine, and building projects. He had folks at his beck and call. He summoned to his personal theatre the best singers and musicians of the land. Supermodels filled his bedroom. He held nothing back (2:1-11).

Dream for a moment. What if you had unlimited resources? What if you could have Your Best Life Now? What if you could break out and soar the heights? What if you could bring Aretha Franklin, in person, to your living room to sing for you? What if the best wines of Bordeaux France were yours for paring with the best foods from Italy? If only you could have it all, what would you have?

Solomon put such things to the test and he felt empty and unfulfilled (2:11). He turned his analytical thinking to consider death. Voices inside screamed at him, "You are going to die and no one will care for very long, or even remember you." He thought, "All that I have worked for will be left behind, perhaps to a fool." He had spent so much time, energy, and money trying to find the meaning to life and he came up empty. He hated his work, his life, and he fell into deep despair. He had gained the world but was in danger of losing his soul (2:15-23).

Finally, he came to a good conclusion. His thought and analysis first led to the realization that what he was looking for could not be found in money, music, women, work, wine, industry, and leisure. He said, in essence, "Its not here." That realization was the first step towards figuring out the meaning of life. When Solomon was jarred awake, he realized that ultimate purpose cannot be found in the good things of life. He then considered where meaning and purpose could be found. He discovered that there is no meaning, apart from God. He found that when one is in relationship with God, there is “ . . . wisdom, knowledge and joy" (24-26).

Tired when you work and tired when you eat.
Restless when awake and restless at sleep.
Everywhere you turn, there is sorrow and tears,
Grasping at you coat, filling you with fears.

What is the point, the meaning of it all?
You try to understand but you continue to fall.
And just around the corner, your breath will depart.
You are forgotton, though you were so smart.

No one will care, at least not for very long.
They will continue to eat and listen to song.
Not knowing that soon they will go the same way.
And the sun will come up, the very next day.

Madness and folly, it chases you down.
And life just continues to go around and around.
No happiness nor joy, and not even a smile.
You hate this vain life, you hate the next mile.

Then a glimmer of light and now you can see.
There are gifts to be grasped, gifts that are free.
There is joy immeasurable, where all trouble can fly.
It gives meaning to life and hope when you die.

An Interpretation of Ecclesiastes 2:12-26