Text: Ecclesiastes 7:1-14
For growth in spiritual maturity
To cherish our elders
For those who manage funds
THIS PASSAGE from Ecclesiastes is as “counter-cultural” as one can get in our world. We are obsessed with youth and the habits of youthfulness; Qoholeth is clear that it is maturity and the wisdom that comes from growing up that is valuable. “Don’t be nostalgic! Don’t look to the past and groan! Don’t pine for the ‘good old days,’ but be glad that you are an adult— that is, if you have gained wisdom and not become a fool.”
Qoholeth’s stern advice comes from an even more bracing, counter-cultural source: what if the point of living is to learn how to die? Qoholeth’s reasoning falls with a thud in a world that believes that not only do the mature have nothing to contribute and have even “failed,” but are an unwelcome reminder that death is our common end.
We Christians have no excuse: we know that the path we walk is the path of our Lord Jesus, who did not turn his face from the shadow, but entered in full-willing, as the letter to Hebrews declares: let’s keep running to the finish line! Fix your eyes on Jesus, who started this race and finished it—he ran for the joy that was waiting for him, and endured the cross, paying no attention to its shame, and now he sits at God’s right hand (Heb 12:1-2).
When we look to the past, let it be for the instruction and wisdom those who have gone before us have to share. Let us be grateful for their feet upon the dusty path that we are now walking—yes, because in some places their feet went astray, and we should not follow their footprints and participate in their folly. Let’s not be nostalgic! But even their failures in adversity are held by God for our good. So let’s keep walking.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks