Sunday, May 1, 2016

The First 1000 Years

Gratitude Year 4 - Day 122: Today, I am grateful for the first 1000 years.

We arrive here fresh and new with the breath of God in our lungs. Most are granted 75-85 years before we step into eternity. It seems there is so much to live, do and learn. The time seems too short. For a believer, this is not the case. We are simply making our way through our first thousand years. Only a few will be spent here, so we need to focus on the important stuff.  

Solomon, because of his God gifted wisdom, really understood this and it would be a gift, but a burden, too. We fret over things that in the breadth of eternity are pretty meaningless. Solomon said it thousands of years ago...and I didn't get it for a long time. Perhaps, I am just beginning to understand Solomon's somewhat depressing opening to Ecclesiastes. 

The words of the Teacher,son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!”  says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless!     Everything is meaningless.”Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 (NIV)
Great opening to a book on wisdom, right? Sorry, sarcasm slips in on occasion. The ESV version uses the word "vanity and vanities". Not much better. Solomon when offered any gift from God of his choosing, he chose wisdom. The blessing and the curse. An old man's wisdom on a young man's shoulders. He is a fascinating Biblical example. I am certain I need to study harder and look closer.

Solomon sees clearly the "busy-ness" of man that we make our business. We put it before setting aside time to worship God's holiness. We neglect to praise his name. We forget...not to "find the time", but to make the time. Making worship, service, praising, seeking, living and loving God our first love and most important work. He gave us work to satisfy our need to create something and through it, we have gifts to offer back to Him. He didn't ever mean for "the work" to become "the main thing.".

"I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.  I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind." Ecclesiastes 1:12-14

It seem Solomon begins this book of wisdom with the reminder that wisdom, knowledge and chasing things outside of God are pretty empty and meaningless. His wisdom is a heavy burden, as much as it is a gift. He pours it out, and it is not always received with open hearts. Too often, the seekers merely want a quick fix for the trouble they have created or have landed in...and they don't want the real relationship that goes with knowing God's wisdom and choosing a relationship with him. They refuse to believe. The harden their hearts to the Spirit of the Living God.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. -Hebrews 11:6

Nature provides a spectacular showcase of the beauty in trusting without worry. Matthew and Luke both record these words of Jesus.

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. -Luke 12:27

Solomon is mentioned. When you grow up in a home "in the lineage of David"...Solomon is going to be mentioned at the dinner the discipline corner and at every family reunion.

Then again...the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The "big reveal"...a perfect way of framing the "makeover" that would occur when Jesus provided a way for all to him. No longer outcasts, but children, brothers and sisters. All could come back into relationship with the Father, through the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit as our comforter would be poured out on all who believe and seek His face.

Again, my breath hitches at the magnitude of this love story! It changes everything.

Our daily grind is turned into a daily offering. What we are given to care for, to create, to manage and to nurture is not meant to be our crown (although, the exception may be grandchildren in Proverbs 17:6). Today is meant to glorify our King. So, is tomorrow...and the next day....and the next.

Today, I am grateful for the first 1000 years.

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