June 21, 2022 – Ecclesiastes 8: 1-9 – Faithfully

Today we will read Ecclesiastes 8: 1-9:

1 Who is like the wise man?
    And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
Being wise makes one’s face shine,
    but arrogance changes one’s face.
2 Keep the king’s command, and because of your sacred oath 3 do not be terrified; go from his presence; do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is powerful, and who can say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever obeys a command will meet no harm, and the wise mind will know the time and way. 6 For every matter has its time and way, although the troubles of mortals lie heavy upon them. 7 Indeed, they do not know what is to be, for who can tell them how it will be? 8 No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle, nor does wickedness deliver those who practice it. 9 All this I observed, applying my mind to all that is done under the sun, while one person exercises authority over another to the other’s hurt.

There is a theme that we see in scripture, that we are supposed to respect and honor our leaders. Romans 13 tell us to pray for our leaders, be good citizens, and respect the authority that God has given us.  Now, listen that can be a hard job, especially in the midst of the craziness of this moment. 

Remember the teachings of the Teacher.  This life is finite. Life upon the earth doesn’t last forever. We know that eternity awaits, but all of us, rich, poor, powerful, weak, all of us will come to the grave. That sounds scary.  That sounds terrifying, honestly.  

But it is actually freedom.  There is so much in life, so much that we can’t control.  We don’t control the beginning of our life and we don’t control the end of it. All we control is how do we live in the period between.  Do we work faithfully?  Do we love?  Do we try to live with wisdom?  

I think what that passage calls us to do is to live with that wisdom. The average Israelite didn’t control who the king was. They only controlled how faithful they were in their day to day life.  How were they faithful in what they could control? 

I think the same is true for us today. Unlike them, we do have the right to vote.  We do have the right to work within our political system.  We can work to make sure our community, state, and nation have the values we find dear. We can do that.  

But, we don’t have total control.  We have control over ourselves.  How do we live that out? How to, as Romans say, give honor to all?  How do we, even pray for our enemies, as our Lord tells us?  

How do we live faithfully today?  Working for good, loving all, living out our values?  That is what I have control over.  If I spend my life fretting about what I have little control over, I won’t have the ability to live faithfully in what I do have control over.  

Today, live faithfully.  That’s our calling.  

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