Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life and Death

Part 3 of a series on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes

Text: 2:12-26

Three truths about life and death:
  1. Life is fleeting. All is vanity (2:17). "Vanity" (hebel) = "vapor." Our lives are like the vapor rising from a boiling kettle. You see it for a moment, and then it's gone. "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist [vapor] that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:13-15).
  2. Death is certain. The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. ...the wise dies just like the fool (2:14, 16b). I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? (2:18-19a). "And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, 'The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, "What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?" And he said, "I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God'" (Luke 12:16-21).
  3. Death is not the end. How should you approach life? Two ways: (1) Enjoy your life. There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? (2:24-25). Enjoy the good gifts that come from God. (2) Invest your life. After writing about the future resurrection of believers, the apostle Paul states, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). What we do now has eternal significance. We will be rewarded by Christ for our service, and we may have a part in someone coming to faith in Christ. It's often said regarding money, "You can't take it with you." But we may be able to take someone with us to heaven.

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