Wednesday, January 30, 2013
God's Surprising Gift
Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 (ESV)
Right now someone has bought a lottery ticket and is praying that God will cause him to win. He thinks that a boatload of money would be the best gift that he could ever have. He wants to pay all his bills, buy the big house, drive the new car off the dealer's lot and quit working forever. He believes this will be the end of his worries. He believes that this will bring him all the happiness that he will ever need. The writer of Ecclesiastes would disagree.
Doing nothing means nothing. Anyone with enough money can do nothing. It will not make anyone distinct. Sure, it may bring fame. Relatives you never knew you had will come out of the woodwork. They will all be asking for a hand out. They will hound the suddenly wealthy. Many have lost their wealth because they thought they could buy the happiness of others too. They were wrong. Neither the ones who were "helped" or those who gave them the money had anything to show for it. it meant nothing.
The only real meaning in life comes from doing what God has created you to do. That seldom takes a lot of money. It often takes a lot of sacrifice which means that it also takes a total commitment to God. But it means something because the one who has been faithful has believed God, faced what the world will consider terrible odds and came out a winner.
Serving God has enduring results too. Those whom God calls you to serve are not merely helped for the moment. They are helped throughout their lives. They have been made better disciples by the example of the one who follows his calling.
Think about it: How long would you follow a NFL team if you knew that they were always going to win no matter if they worked hard? Part of the reason you follow your team is because you don't know what will happen. You follow them because they work hard. The wins have meaning because of the work for winning would mean nothing at all if there was no hard work.
Now imagine your own life as simply the winner of a lottery. Why should you even be proud of the things you would do with the money when you never earned the money in the first place? How can God call you a faithful servant when you never really did anything of sacrifice? No, it is through the hard work that God blesses us. It is the hard work that He gives us that is a gift.
Working hard at what God has called us to do is a gift. God's gift is to supply our every need and call us to do His will. And when it is very difficult and it takes all our faith to see God work through us, then, that is even a greater gift. These are the things that will go with us for eternity.