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Sunday, July 31, 2016
Don't be stingy!
I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God.I know everything God does endures for all time. Nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken away from it. We humans can only stand in awe of all God has done. What has been and what is to be—already is. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-15 VOICE) Hard work - we use that term to describe the fruitful endeavors of our hands, the back-breaking labor of our energies exerted in some task needing to be finally accomplished, and the exhaustion of our minds as we settle back to rest our weary bodies after a long day at the "salt mine" we call "work". Hard implies we had to put some effort into it - maybe it was more than just physically fatiguing because it was troublesome for us to accomplish. I have undertaken some projects on occasion which game me more headaches and soreness in my muscles that I wondered if it was all worth it once I got done. I just had to stand back and admire the work that was accomplished to know the answer to that musing, though. There is nothing better than the sense of accomplishing something which just seemed to be beyond your abilities! I think God must revel in our excitement when we stand back and just get excited about what he did in our lives once we let him get "underway" with that area which has been "troublesome" to us! All the God does endures for all times - even when the memory of it become clouded by all the events which have come since. We have a tendency to "move on" in our lives - seeing that good brought momentary excitement and fulfillment, but eventually, we move on. We have other things to get on with in our lives and the "good" God has done some time in the past sort of fades into the background, overshadowed by the next troublesome thing we face either emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Remembering what God HAS done helps us to face what God is presently DOING and what he may be setting up in our lives to have DONE in the future, though. It isn't always a good thing to put the past memory of God's grace in the shadows of today's present problems - we may just find strength, or the building block upon which he will lay the "next row of bricks" in our lives. Solomon spends the majority of the Book of Ecclesiastes reminding us we can build, work hard with our hands, muse over scientific studies, apply ourselves to the gaining of knowledge galore, all to be found as pretty worthless in the end. It isn't that these aren't good things - for they are gifts of God - but they pale in comparison to all God does in our lives we may not even recognize he has done! To focus on the task and forget the one who gives us the ability to accomplish the task is what Solomon wants us to guard against - for nothing else matters as much as how connected we become with Jesus in the process of taking on the tasks we see laid out before us! There is no greater expanse of beauty for our souls than to stand squarely in the presence of God and admire what he has done. We can take credit for the hard work we have done with our own hands, but we cannot ever take credit for the way God orchestrates our lives to allow us to be in the place to do those things. God deserves our praise, but he also deserves our time - just to take in all he has done, is doing and is about to do in our lives. This isn't wasted time - it is time spent replenishing our souls, refreshing our minds, rebuilding our emotions, and in general, it is the time we "recharge" for the tasks which are just ahead. Don't skimp on time with Jesus - he doesn't skimp on anything with us! Just sayin!