Enjoying Life; October 17, 2022

Ecclesiastes 11:8 However many years a man may live,
let him enjoy them all.
But let him remember the days of darkness,
for they will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.

I find myself very relieved that this is our last reading in Ecclesiastes. Solomon’s cynicism is exhausting! However, there is wisdom mixed in with the nihilism. Even though he says that “everything that happens is meaningless,” as the Japanese puts it, the advice to “live a long time and enjoy it,” as again the Japanese expresses it, is good. There are sadly many people who don’t seem to enjoy living much at all. Focusing on the negatives, they live a pretty miserable existence. In his later years Solomon seems to have been one of those! The attitude isn’t exactly admirable, but the awareness that the time after our death will be far longer than our time on earth is actually a very good thing. It helps put things into perspective. Rather than letting it make us cynical, however, we need to let it motivate us to make the most of the time we have, seeking God for His purposes, His plans for our existence. I say it frequently, but we need to remember that He is not mean; He does want us to have a good time while we’re here. However, “having a good time” isn’t the purpose of it all. If we think it is, then indeed “everything is meaningless,” as Solomon said. If our focus is on God, on drawing close to Him and doing what He desires of us, then we will have a better time in the process than those who focus on trying to have a good time.

I had never thought I was particularly unusual in this area until a man I knew, though not well, brought one of his friends to meet me because he said he wanted his friend to “meet someone who enjoys living.” Likewise, I have had a psychologist who teaches at one of the schools where I teach say repeatedly that I am “a happy person.” I don’t deny either of those descriptions, but it is certainly by the grace of God. Starting every day with the Bible and prayer sets the tone, and letting songs of praise, gratitude, and commitment to God run through my mind and heart during the day makes a huge difference. I do get frustrated and upset at times, and I get tired of things I feel obligated to do, but as the Psalmist said, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” (Psalm 84:10) I don’t yet spend all my time “in His courts,” but I continue to grow, and know that is my eternal destiny. That’s certainly something to look forward to, and it makes it much easier to deal with all the “bumps and potholes” in my current road.

Father, thank You for Your incredible grace toward me. I can’t claim to have earned any of it. Thank You for the good care Cathy is receiving at the hospital. I pray that today’s procedure would go smoothly and contribute to Cathy’s full and prompt healing, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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