Built to Last

2019-08-04 – Year C – Proper 13 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Ecclesiastes 1:12–2:11; Psalm 49:1-12; Colossians 3:5-17; Luke 12:13-21

  • Søren Kierkegaard “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
  • Ecclesiastes is thought to have been written by King Solomon who was well known for his wisdom. This book is his reflection as an old man looking back on his life and contemplating his death.
  • Solomon was a man without limits. His finances and his power were such that he could occupy himself with whatever he wanted to do. And he tried it all.
    • Work (toil), wealth, pleasure, alcohol, women, wisdom
    • With each of these Solomon ultimately concludes that “all is vanity and a striving after wind” (2:17).
    • Vanity (hebel) word study. “Vapor, breath, vanity, meaningless.”
    • Sheet, balloon, sail illustration
  • U2 – “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”

Moderation vs. Indulgence

  • Each of the things that Solomon gives himself to are not evil by themselves. In fact, we would call most of them good and God-given.
    • Work is good. Pleasure and enjoyment are given by God. God made our brains to seek after wisdom and knowledge. God made men and women to support, love, and enjoy one another in the covenant of marriage.
    • The problem is when we take a good, God-given thing and make it our sole pursuit.
      • None of these things were designed to carry the weight of that responsibility in our lives.
        • Carabiner clip for my keys. “No load bearing” is etched into the metal. It wasn’t designed to bear the weight of a person.
      • Marriage is good, but it is not the ultimate good. You can’t expect your spouse to provide you with all of your fulfillment and happiness.
      • Work is good and can be fulfilling, but overwork will suck the joy out of your life.
    • It is interesting to note that when the Hebrew word “hebel” (vanity) is used as a noun, it often means “idol.”
      • When we take anything in life, except for God, and ask it to bear the weight of our happiness and fulfillment, we have put that thing in God’s place and made an idol. 
      • My search for wireless earbuds this week. 
  • Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 – be joyful, do good, enjoy life. Keep a balance to your life. Enjoy the various facets of your life in moderation.
  • There is a time and season for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. And no, King Solomon was not quoting from the song by the Byrds when he wrote this! 
  • God has put “eternity into man’s heart” (3:11).
    • There is something deep within us all the tells us that there has to be more to life than this. 
    • How long is eternity? How long is it compared to the span of a person’s life? 

What is Eternal?

  • This life is coming to an end, and this world is coming to an end so that it can be made new, but eternity will last forever. What are you doing to prepare for it? 
  • Luke 12:15 “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. 
    • Parable of the rich fool. In the end, all the abundance that he has worked so hard to store up will be passed on to another. You can’t take it with you. 
    • Luke 12:21 – “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.”
  • What is eternal? What will last into the next life? Luke 12:30-31 – “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” 
    • You are eternal and so is your relationship with God.
      • If you don’t have a personal relationship with God, giving your life to him is the most important thing you could ever do! 
      • If you do have a personal relationship with God, invest in it every single day. 
        • Bible reading
        • Prayer
        • Christian community (Church) 
    • The people around you are eternal and so are their relationships with God. 
      • Who in your life has God uniquely positioned you to reach? 
      • Rob Rienow likes to refer to people as “immortal souls.” “Why did God give you your children? He entrusted them to you so that you might lead them to know, love and serve Him. God gave you your children so that you would help them get safely home to heaven. He has given you the mission of training your children so that they can be saved and have the opportunity to bring many others to heaven with them.” (Rob Rienow, God’s Grand Vision for the Home)
  • Be diligent with your responsibilities. Enjoy the pleasures of this life within the boundaries God has given and without overindulging, but make sure you put God first and invest in eternity.

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