I really like talking to old people. Before you click out of this email, please hear me out.
There are quite a few older people that I really like talking to. These people have lived for many decades, been married for a few decades, made mistakes and admit that they have, and wanted me to know some things that they wished they knew when they were my age.
This is similar to the book of Ecclesiastes. The title actually means someone who addresses an assembly, which is why some translate it “Preacher.” Although Solomon has been credited to putting this on paper, we really don’t know who wrote it. When I read it I think of someone who has a lifetime of wisdom and is sharing it to whoever is willing to listen. There are things that they wished they knew and if they could go back in time they’d do different. I’m not sure if this was written down over a lifetime or something that someone like Solomon penned late in life. Regardless there’s so much wisdom in this book for all of us to learn something.
One of the themes in the book is vanity. It’s referred to almost 40 times in this book. The word literally means “vapor” and it pictures something that is elusive. Throughout the book, the old wise preacher talks about things that we value on earth that we feel will bring us security, hope, and peace. His advice is that those things (and pretty much everything) are a vapor and impossible for those things to bring us any security, hope, and peace. He continues to finish out his review of life with this fact—God is the only source that brings us security, hope, and peace (3:14, 5:7, 12:13-14). God and His work is, has, and will always outlast the things we put our security, hope, and peace in.
I’m guilty. I’m guilty of putting my security and hope into things that God will outlast and honestly I might even outlast. Things like house, cars, clothes, food, vacation home, spouse, people, kids, sports, investments, and money.
All that’s left to hear is: That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
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