By Tyler Warner
The book of Ecclesiastes is a strange one. It is brutally honest about life – so honest that some Christians have even questioned whether it’s still relevant for today. In it, Solomon lays out the hard facts: life is hard, life is short, death is certain and nothing is fair. But that is not his only point. Most of us are familiar with his final analysis to “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13), but there is more. Ecclesiastes is what you could call “Life-Positive”. That is to say, pro-existence, pro-human; it advocates for joy and celebration even in the face of pain and injustice.
“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18)
“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9)
Times are hard. 2020 has been hard. But the truth is that life has always been and will always be hard. Plans unravel, relationships break and death is inevitable. But if we are going to obsess over everything that’s going wrong, we will miss the joy that God intends for us. Our families, the activities we enjoy, good food and drink, holidays and jokes and football season – those things never go away either. And the Bible exhorts us to make the most of the life God has given to us.
It’s easy to get stuck watching someone else’s life. From the supermarket tabloids to the political seasons to the tweets of your favorite celebrity or sports hero, it’s all someone else’s life. Don’t live their life – live yours! There may be chaos in other parts of the country, but what about in your backyard? There may be evil churches and crazy people, but is that your life or someone else’s? Don’t lose the joy of your own life by importing stress from somewhere else.
Paul told the Thessalonians to, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Tend your own garden, mind your own business and live your own life. Take joy in your work and your family and the little pleasures we all enjoy so much. If you want to focus on someone else’s mess, you’ll miss what’s right in front you. It might be a mess, but it’s your mess, and you are uniquely positioned to love it well.
Tyler Warner is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Trussville. CCT meets on Sunday mornings at 9:30am, at 5239 Old Springville Rd. Listen to Tyler’s verse-by-verse Bible teaching at CalvaryChapelTrussville.com or Sundays at 8:30am on 101.1 FM.