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ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NASB

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NASB

12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime;

13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.

COMMENT:

How well do I enjoy working? V. 13 informs us that to enjoy it is a gift from God. You have this gift?

Can we look at our work as an effort that operates out of a well of joy and delight, that brings pleasure?

When I was a child I hated work and so did most of our children, especially when it came to cleaning their bedrooms and washing dishes. As I grew older and my walk with the LORD became more intimate my attitude towards work changed. My creativity also changed - changed from following instructions to the letter to thinking 'outside the box'.

It is a wonderful testimony to those we meet when they can see we are Christians who thoroughly enjoy working,, that it is honorable, bringing pleasure to those who exercise themselves therein. This can be among the best sermons one can preach to those we meet: enjoy your work and in so doing give God the honor when it is due.

In working and being creative one quickly discovers gaps in knowledge and wisdom. There will be vexing times of things going wrong and how do I fix it? After all, our work is still cursed...how do we cope? With glum and pessimism? or, can we bring this matter to the LORD for his assistance? No, I cannot expect Him to deliver me out of this situation, but I do expect Him to lead me to knowledge and wisdom in learning how to deal with it.

(In our business, many will think that with an ideal environment we should have no problems...but the fact is that with an ideal environment it also is an ideal environment for insects and who knows what all. Our wisdom is challenged such that we at times wonder whether we know anything at all!)

Enjoy your work and when you meet others allow them to witness your pleasure in it! Might be the best sermon they will see all day!


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/5 10:46Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 NASB

Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 NASB

14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

15 That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.

COMMENT:

God has instilled within humans the desire, ambition to create, to work. However, within this desire there is the challenge to overcome hindrances to this creativity. But the laws of nature will never change, regardless of man's attempts to do so; among them is death. Man has never been able to eradicate it from human's existence. Neither has man been able to create anything out of nothing: all must use components created by God and therefore subject to the laws these components demand.

Since this is the case, why work? what profit is there in working? You cannot add to it or take away from God's laws of nature, so why work?

Is it not true that in being creative one will come up to a barrier that challenges man's knowledge/wisdom and in doing so that person is left with a sense of awe?

We are hemmed in by laws of nature set in place by God and these laws cannot be overturned by man. They are absolute - only God can change them. THIS is essential in our serving God: we are not God and it is important we realize our limitations in whatever we do. This is true materially and spiritually: we cannot overcome the consequences of sin scientifically.

God is and will always be. So, how will this impact our life? our occupation? our problem solving skills?


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/6 10:50Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes 3:18-22 NASB

Ecclesiastes 3:18-22 NASB

18 I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.”

19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.

20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.

21 Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?

22 I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?

COMMENT:

Two major insights:

One: "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.” When left to himself man acts like animals. Man is given to strife, conflict, will eat and devour another. All motivated by greed and pride, working to top the other and woe on you if you get in my way! This why I would understand why God allows evil to exist to demonstrate that without his influence man will kill and devour another, just like animals - except for one thing: they do it for survival, literally. Man does it mostly for prides' sake.

TWO: How are we different from the animals? Both live and die. Both when dead rot and return to dust. Both breathe the same air. Now why is man different? what is his purpose for living? Solomon suggests the best thing for an to do is to enjoy life NOW. He cannot see what is in the future for his efforts, just do what brings enjoyment. Enjoy your work...To work for something far into the future, you have no clue how the future will treat your work.

Enjoy life and make life happen today. Now! Enjoy it! It is a gift from God! (v. 12) (BTW: this is the message God gave me when I was told our 25 YO was terminally ill. I followed His command and was richly blessed by it.:-))


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/11 8:23Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 NASB

Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 NASB

1 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

2 So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living.

3 But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.

COMMENT:

Oppression. Ecclesiastes 7:7 NASB: Oppression makes a wise man mad....

Power corrupts. Many use power to elevate their personal well-being, but it happens by walking over people, trampling as they go to reach the top. The trampled cried as the oppressors worked his way to the top.

Yet, the oppressor is a human being with feelings, emotions like the people he trampled on his way up the ladder. Once he gets to the top, it is lonely. People around him know they need to tread softly with him lest he becomes another victim in his quest to remain secure. Or, his close associates will work to secure the oppressor because they know their own security is dependent on the others'.

But they are lonely, too.

(A very rich lady lived in our town. Her husband was the chairman of a well-known company in the USA. She hobnobbed with the rich and famous. But she was an alcoholic and a member of the local Methodist church. In her last days she had a Christian black lady who cared for her who ministered to her, tried to bring her to the LORD, but failed...I admire this black sister..)

One can look at Hitler and Stalin, among the best known oppressors in the 20th century. But they were lonely: Hitler and his wife committed suicide. Stalin did not trust his associates or acquaintances; had an over-active imagination and eliminated those whose loyalty he suspected, justified or not. Lonely.

But we are not oppressors, are we? As children of the eternal King, can we look at these oppressors as God does and know they will spend eternity - somewhere? Can we look at bin Laden and others and know they are mere men, like we? Does a possessor of position and power impede our willingness to minister to these people? It is easy for Christian to render benevolence to the oppressed but what about the oppressor? But, then, they are so arrogant just like Obadiah 1:3 says: "who will bring me down to earth?"

In any case, Solomon ends his observation with a hyperbole: that the one who never lived is better off then the one who has: he will be lonely, whether he is the oppressor or his victim.

Where do we find ourselves in this mix?


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/12 10:31Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes 4:4-6


Ecclesiastes 4:4-6 NASB

4 I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind.

5 The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.

6 One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

COMMENT:

Work. Why do I work? to compete with another? And what good does this do? It calls it rivalry and oppression. The opposite is to sit and do nothing. Verse 5 says laziness will consume your flesh...Where is the balance?

Since we are self-employed v. 4 is ever before me - on the practical level - we have to deal with it. We know there are people out there who will want all kinds of information so they can upstage you, compete with you. How much info do I share? To maintain peace of mind, we limit the info shared with others. We know what is vital and protect it. Knowing the weaknesses of human nature we are working to maintain a cordial relationship with potential competitors. On the one hand it is tragic, but it is life...while protecting vital information we can still be kind and gentle. My husband taught me that.

Yes, this is where life meets the road and how do I relate to others on the business level?


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/13 11:05Profile
mama27
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Joined: 2010/11/20
Posts: 1394


 Re: Ecclesiastes 4:4-6

I don't always comment, Ginnyrose, but I love your Ecclesiastes series and the wisdom you have to share! It is one of my favorite books as well :)

 2011/5/13 11:51Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Re:

Oh, thank-you, Mama! Your comment is so encouraging. I know many folks do not enjoy the book thinking it is too negative...Hey! I even heard preachers say that! But I love it because it is so full of wisdom, so practical. It also demonstrates that God is so very much interested in how one lives, how one responds to life where the rubber meets the road. God explains so much of the 'whys' of vexing problems that we encounter in life.

God bless you mama for your encouraging words.

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/14 0:26Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes4:8 NASB

Ecclesiastes4:8 NASB

There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.

COMMENT:

More insights about work.

The writer specifically is looking at an individual who has no dependents to benefit from his work. He notes that in his acquisition of wealth he is never satisfied. So why are you so busy working when you have no dependents to benefit from your work?

A couple major points: after working hard, accumulating things, when will a person admit he has enough? and why work so hard and not enjoy life?

And the eyes are never satisfied! We love to look at more and more. If we accumulate some and it was not all that hard, let us get more and more - hey! this is fun and see what I did! and can do! - yes, eyes are never satisfied. And who will benefit?


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/16 20:53Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB

9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?

12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

COMMENT:

The value of close friendships...

Amos 3:3 echoes these sentiment when he says: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" The obvious answer is "no".

The value of a close friend...

1. There is a good return for their work....

2. When one falls another will be there to help him get up.

3. When faced with opposition they will be able to withstand its pressure. Alone one can be more easily overpowered. (It uses the number 3 - is the third cord God? I suspect it is...)

Christians need each other. No one can stand alone long. It gets lonely. The human cries for companionship, we are made social beings. We need to feel the love and acceptance of others, especially one other person. Without this love from another one can easily give into compromise.

Another value of a close associate it that when discussing issues, the insight gained by listening to another will trigger your own thinking to a concept you were blinded to which will then lead you down a more productive path.

Ahhh, how wonderful are the insights of a friend whose goals match yours, who can share insights that challenge me to better growth, new heights. Perhaps this is the reason why Christians need to be so careful who we choose to be our confidants; who we choose to fellowship with on a regular basis.

A friend will always be there to help you rise up when you fail, when you fall. Woe to the person who has no friends like this! Still, God is there, but having a godly friend will reinforce God's support.

Am I the friend God can use to bolster a weak person?


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/18 11:57Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7480
Mississippi

 Ecclesiastes 4: 13-16 NASB

Ecclesiastes 4: 13-16 NASB

13 A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.

14 For he has come out of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom.

15 I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who replaces him.

16 There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.

COMMENTS:

What do people look for in a leader? The writer declares that a poor lad with a teachable spirit is better then an old king who is not.

But where do people look for a leader? They may throng to the person released 'from prison' hoping he would have the ability to understand life as they see it. In the end they will be dissatisfied and will look for another.

Ahhh...sounds like moderns. Many people will emerge from who-knows-where, work to get your confidence/votes, promising the moon to all who will vote for him/her. If they win the election and fails to fulfill his promises, they will look for another..and so the cycle continues.

When will man learn that trusting in another human to fix whatever ails the world cannot be done politically? You trust in that person to correct but once in a powerful position they seem powerless to act. Somehow it seems as though there are forces at work that man cannot buck.

Human nature has not changed any, has it?


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Sandra Miller

 2011/5/19 10:00Profile





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