Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsFriday 19 Feb 2021Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
In Parts 1 and 2, we were talking about the search for meaning. I mentioned that Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace, also reflected on the fact that his life, despite his achievements, was also regrettable and a failure.
In his book called The Questions of Life, Nicky Gumbel explained what eventually triggered Tolstoy’s conversion:
The only people he knew that had answered those questions were the poor, ignorant peasant people in Russia, and they answered those questions through their faith in Jesus Christ.
I suspect that maybe you feel the same way that Solomon did as you realise that your life lacks meaning and purpose. Those things that you always thought would bring you happiness but left you feeling empty, like laughter, alcohol and partying, hobbies, buying things, relationships, work.
It’s like chasing after the wind. You can’t seem to get hold of that which will ultimately provide your life with meaning. Everything that you’ve tried has left you feeling there’s got to be more to life. We’re left with two choices, give in to apathy or give in to the Almighty. I’d like to draw four life lessons from this amazing book of Ecclesiastes.
Recognise the Reality of Eternity
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
God has put within each of us a desire to find our purpose, and yet that search will be elusive until we realise that we’re made for another place.
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Augustine said it well:
Thou hast created us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.
This truth should help us when we talk to those who are far from Christ. Even the most hardened sceptic has eternity set in his heart. Too many of us get way too tied to this place. This is not meant to be our home. We should always feel a bit restless here because we are made for another place.
Remember God Before It’s Too Late
Ecclesiastes 12:1 says:
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, I find no pleasure in them.
The word ‘remember’ is more than just recalling that God exists; it means to live your life in the conscious presence of God. In addition, it’s not passive but active. To remember our Creator means that we live according to this truth in every aspect of our lives. That means you were created by a Creator who has every right to reign in your life. Remember that he is God and you are not.
Consider We’re All Getting Older
Psalm 90:12 says:
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Students, get serious now! Don’t just think about the future to live out your faith. Don’t waste your life by just getting wasted. Be a Ruth, an Esther or a Mary. Be a Joseph, a Daniel or a Timothy. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
Reflect on What Really Matters
The good thing about Solomon’s journal is that it doesn’t end on a note of despair. In Ecclesiastes 12:11, Solomon concludes by saying that only Scripture can point us in the right direction: “The words of the wise are like goads…”
A ‘goad’ was a rod about 8-foot long, with a sharp point on it that was used for guiding oxen. Scripture is like a goad—it prods us and pokes us; we cannot get it out of our mind. Sometimes it guides us gently; other times it hits us in the gut.
Verse 11 continues: “…their collected sayings are like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd.”
You can hang onto Scripture and hold fast in times of danger and temptation. When we read and understand God’s Word, it sinks deeply into our minds and hearts like a sharp nail that is embedded in the wall. Scripture provides stability and is dependable because it is ‘given by one shepherd’.
While there are books everywhere, and they will never end, Ecclesiastes reminds us that God is the secret of life, and he is the answer to the reason for our existence. Until we discover God, our study and the reading of many books will never be of any lasting value to us. That’s why we must be selective in what we read.
Pontiac Bible Church USA