Ecclesiastes 1 & 2
What a delightful day, yesterday, when we worshiped and fellowshipped and rejoiced under Haley Life’s message of “Get tough with it.”
Haley started by saying, “You all have made me feel so loved, over the years, and so I hope I can make you feel the same way, today.” “Recently, I’ve been having a stressful time in school. When I told Paw-Paw that school was getting tough, he said,
“Well, you’ll just have to get tough with it !”
She then shared with us lots of wisdom she has gleaned, how to “get tough with it,” dealing with balance, openness, and time.
Haley illustrated balance and time using a bowl, symbolizing our limited time, into which she wanted to fit a collection of small and large rocks and some sand. These represented the ordinary, daily activities of life and the big, important things we want to accomplish during the time we have.
She illustrated openness with accounts of the diverse people with whom she has been living and working and learning.
Haley repeatedly emphasized how important her family and church and friends mean to her. “My wish is to always have hope and to maintain the relationships that are important to me, but this requires balance, openness, and time….”
She concluded with a verse from Psalm 35 that means so much to her when things get tough:
Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes with the morning.
If you missed hearing Haley’s message, or if you would like to hear it again, CDs or tapes of the service should be available soon. Tell me if you want one.
God blesses the church with generations of humans who do their God-given work and leave a legacy to those who come after. Haley is an outstanding example of God’s blessing to Bethel. Many of us have had the privilege of seeing her grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and with people. Then, what an added blessing to seize the opportunity to have her share her journey with us through a Sunday-morning message !
We all know the feeling that is making the rounds, not only person-to-person but also by way of much of our contemporary media, that the world is in an awful mess and getting worse every day.
This message, this feeling of decline and doom and destruction has been going around for thousands of years. Hundreds of years before the time of Jesus, someone calling himself “the Preacher” wrote this in the Bible book we call Ecclesiastes:
I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun;
and see, all is vanity
and a chasing after wind.
What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.
What a downer !! The Preacher considers himself to be so wise, yet he only sees uselessness, meaninglessness, and death.
Thank God, this does not have to come true.
Yes, each of us will eventually die and leave behind our mortal bodies and possessions, but God is victorious, and we are victorious in Jesus Christ. As the Old Testament character Job said so well,
“I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last He shall stand upon the earth…."
Jesus walked the earth in a time which was, in many ways, a lot worse than our time, today. Human life was held awfully cheap: there was not even any concept of human rights for ordinary people. It looks worse, the more we learn about it.
Nowadays, we disrespect Jesus if we refuse to see all the good that has been done in his name, down through the past two thousand years. While it is also true, that an awful lot of bad things have been done in Christ’s name, we his followers are part of his victorious legacy.
As worrisome and perplexing and negative-seeming as our times can be, we have plenty of genuine hope in what God does in our midst. Our happy Sunday with Haley is but one shining instance of this. Don’t sell it short !!
Jesus knew full well that many humans are wasting their lives trying to build themselves “bigger barns.” (Luke 12:16-21) Jesus experienced the frustration of trying to teach disciples whose hearts were often tied up in earthly pursuits and thoughts. But Jesus offers us the truth:
“Do not be afraid, little flock,
for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)