Rhythm of Life
Featuring Branon Dempsey Posted on June 24, 2008
Picture this: you are in a distant and far land. The promises of God, the glories of a holy nation and the shining hope spoken by prophets seem far from reach. The duration between what God said of the coming Messiah and the actual birth of Christ only seem to widen. What is left to ponder in this moment: the reality of God and the meaning of life. This was the historical and emotional context for the writer of Ecclesiastes.
The ponderings of this wisdom teacher (Hebrew term: Qoheleth) wrestled with the realities of life: the gain of achieving wealth, the certainty of death and judgment among the rich and poor, the futility of human pursuits and the understanding of what it means to fear and obey God. The observations of the author have not changed much in view of today’s times.
Think of how hard men, women and children struggle in this life only to be measured by their wealth, success, possessions, appearance and friends. Worldwide, we experience other complicated and social issues. Even in the Church, when our work is built with wood, hay or straw and not on the foundation of Christ and obedience to God (1Cor. 3:11), we hear the author’s words ring true: “Meaningless! Meaningless!...everything is meaningless,” (Eccl. 1:2).
So what is our quest in life? Sometimes, I feel chained to my tasks where I am driven to complete it “perfectly.” There are times where I feel that it is difficult to leave my work for the sake of the “calling.” Why and for what? Will someone take my work away from me? Will I lose control? Will I not succeed? Will I be viewed as a failure? These are only a few of the negative self-talks that open up our vulnerabilities. But what does God see? Does he see our greatness, how we stand out or who should get the bigger piece of the pie? The truth is our work will always be waiting for us tomorrow; even what we think we own is not even ours to claim.
Past the clamor, through all the façade and beyond our insecurities He sees his child: simple and created to love and to be loved by the Father. Is this not the reality of what Jesus calls us to become in Matt. 18:4?
In the rhythm of this complex world, we hear the noise of the rat race and the endless clanging of competition. Our work produces little results that benefit, but alone does not make life meaningful, but rather empty and void (Eccl. 1:3-11). Just as we breathe the same air as the animals, we all face the commonality of life and death. As the sun rises and sets and as the wind blows its endless course, our labor is cyclic and in vain (vv.5-6). As in the beginning, the more we pride ourselves in our achievements, the more things remain the same: “there is nothing new under the sun,” (Eccl. 1:9-10). So again, what is our lot? In the rhythm of life our soul yearns for God to fill our empty spaces. Our hearts long to be stilled and quieted. Just as Jesus silences the waves of the storm, He comes to cover us with his peace. In this silence, we hear the rhythms of ancient truths that beckon us to draw near and listen. To know that He is God and we are human and of the earth, may our words be few (Eccl. 5:2). Our lot, through wisdom, is to enjoy and to obey God in this gift of life.
“7 Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. 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. 9 Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment. 10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.” – Eccl. 11:7-10
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