Sep28ThuSeptember 28, 2017
Have you ever been around someone who is a ‘downer’ or the resident critic?? This type of person is always quick to crush hope, breed negativity and always revert to laws like Murphy’s…’if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.’ Sometimes it isn’t a person, but a runaway thought in our mind and it festers a spirit of panic, fear and anxiety. We actually have to take action when this type of spirit manifests in our lives or it can easily overwhelm and paralyze our progress. I know it’s pretty easy to let the spirit of ‘murphy’ take hold in my own life. I would easily say it becomes my “default” mode if I don’t actively challenge it by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we continue to work through the Bible at Church at the Manor, we come to another poetic writing, the book of Ecclesiastes. Simply, there are three main themes that the ‘critic’ throws at us as developed by the “Read Scripture” series. They are the perspective of one “under the sun” or apart from the acknowledgement of God in one’s life and they are very “Murphy” like. The good thing is that we won’t stop at pointing them out… there is a counter attack.
- The March of Time - The book is quick to point out that generations come and go, you will soon be forgotten and everything that you really work hard for will not be enjoyed by you but others who you have to leave it too.
- We Are All Going To Die – That’s right, so what’s the point of doing good, make a difference when everyone experiences the same fate no matter whether they are rich or poor, status or no status. It’s all just really pointless.
- Life’s Random Nature - There is no cause and effect relationship to life. It all just “hevel” in Hebrew and that means everything is really without meaning. It’s all just smoke, you think it is something and it turns to something else. It’s confusing. There is a glitch in the system. The race doesn’t always go to the swift. You can’t control anything in life.
The Counter Attack
Here are some great insights we focused at the Manor Church
In response to the ‘march of time’ Ephesians 5:16 challenges us to make the most of every opportunity that God places in front of us. Recognize also that worry is pointless. Read Matthew 6:30-33
When you are overwhelmed by the thought that we’re all gonna die, it is sobering but remember there is never a U-Haul that follows a hearse. The good part is that it reminds us the most important things worth investing in are not things, but people and making a difference for eternity. I can remember so clearly when I started attending Bible College and thinking to myself, why am I here? I just started reading the New Testament and when I got to Matthew 6:21 it all became clear. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” I knew right in that moment that I wanted to invest my life in others. Another really good point that was made is that in light of how fast time really flies, we can’t leave any room for resentment. It is too much of a burden to carry.
In response to life’s random nature, recognize that the only thing that you can really control is your attitude. The author steps in at the end of the book, overrides the critic to make sure that we realize that God will ultimately clear the ‘hevel’ and bring clarity to everything. As one author stated, ‘life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react or respond to it. Reacting is my knee-jerk reaction, it’s usually self-centered, pretty ugly and selfish. Now responding takes grace and the Spirit of God in my life. It’s a perspective that I have to absolutely rely on Him for and it takes time and patience to cultivate in my life.
In the end the author tells us to fear God and that it’s much easier to honor Him and follow Him when we are young and willing to listen than when we get old and think we know it all. Ecclesiastes 12:1 ‘remember your Creator in the days of your youth’!
The simple takeaway of the book is to keep hope and remain humble. I’m not in control but I remain steadfast in hope in the One who is!Well we said our goodbyes to Addi who is off to YWAM Kona on Thursday bright and early. She will be missed on Sundays at Church at the Manor as she has been part of the worship team from the very beginning!On Saturday September 30th, I will be riding with Ride For Refuge to raise funds for Church at the Manor. Your support is greatly appreciated!!