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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Each Moment Is His

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 (ESV)
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Infomercials fill the late night tv times. Some are promising a slimmer body; some a better physique, some a longer life and some promise to make you rich. The latter is done by the secrets which individuals have learned and are willing to let you check out if you will simply make a call. I have never made the call but I suspect that checking out the "free get rich" programs costs quite a bit.

These get rich schemes appear to me as people who have chosen a gimmick, written literature on the gimmick and are selling the gimmick. The person getting rich is the one who sells the gimmick. I don't conning people can be fulfilling. I know it isn't from God. I don't care how many times the name of Jesus is mentioned. (Yes, there is one that says that God has a code in the Bible which will allow you to invest and get rich.)

People receive what they do from the hand of God find enjoyment in their toil. They work but know that they are providing a service. Each week I visit people in the hospital and pray with them. I also pray for the hospital employees. I thank God for them and ask His blessing to be on them for they are in partnership with Him for healing and life. I don't deny that God is the healer. But I also know that God uses people to join Him in healing people. He uses me in my prayer. He uses the medical professionals to act on the sick bodies. Ultimately, He heals.

How can any enjoyment be found in work when it is not seen as a gift of God? Sure, there may be things that interest you but when it comes down to the real work, the real toil, how much joy can be found in that if there is nothing but riches at the other end? How much joy is there in sitting on a stack of money at the end of your life?

So, let's imagine something else. God has a ministry for you to perform in the work that you do. It may be in the service you provide, the product that emerges or in the people with whom you work. God may use you to change others lives by the way you work. He may be using the work to change you too. The enjoyment doesn't come from the amount of money that is made. Money will produce a temporary happiness; not real joy. Real joy comes as a fruit of the Spirit. This comes while we are walking with God.

God gives us work to walk with Him. Work often humbles us. It makes us depend upon Him. It should make us ask why we are working. Each job is a ministry. It is an opportunity to reveal who God is. It is an opportunity to change things the way God wants them.

The sinner seeks to get rich without any concern for God. But God still owns it all. And it all returns to those who seek after God. The sinner will prosper those who love the Lord. I know that appears ludicrous at the moment. In the end the sinner won't be in the end. None of the riches will matter. All of the riches stored in heaven are all the riches there will be. These riches will be our crowns that we will present to Him. The glory of presenting to Him will be our reward. The sinner has none of this. The sinner is striving after the wind.

Each moment of our day is His. Our rising and going to bed is His. Our working and playing is His. It all has meaning. It is all for our joy even when it doesn't appear enjoyable at the moment. It all has a purpose. The sinner has no purpose. It doesn't matter if he rises or goes to bed. It doesn't matter what he does for work or play. Ultimately, he works for God too but doesn't know it. All that he has and does will also do what God has ultimately planned.

The joy we have is in the knowledge that it is His. Each moment has a purpose whether or now we realize it at that moment. One day it will all be revealed. One day those moments which seem to account for little will be seen as much because we put them in the Lord's hands.

Each moment is His.


Anthony Chia said...

For a long time after I have become a Christian, I have deliberately not try to re-read or understand the Book called Ecclesiastes When I read it once, I really was disappointed with my lack of understanding of why in the Bible is this book that is full of "everything is vanity, vanity, and vanity, or meaningless and meaningless and meaningless! I told myself I was too shallow of faith to try to understand this book without it scaring me off the faith!

Then, several years ago, in the thick of my most difficult time in my life, when my world fell apart, I went back to this book, and tried to see if I could make "a head and a tail" out of this book! I went away remembering 3 things, namely 1. There is nothing new under the sun! 2. There is a time and season for everything; and 3. The scripture text of your blog entry, especially, the part that said there is nothing better for one than to eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil - Eccl 2:24a

Exactly what does the last item mean? Is it like it is said in Luke 12:19, take it easy, eat, drink and be merry?! No, the next verse, Luke 12:20 said something very different from that said in the rest of Eccl 2:24-25.

Eccl 2:24b-25 - This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

Luke 12:20, on the other hand, reads: But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

So, eat, drink and find satisfaction in one's toil do not suggest we, to relentlessly toil to gather and store up, so that we can take it easy, eat and drink and be merry. In the world, so many people are so completely consumed by this - relentless gathering to hound or store up, so that they, purportedly, could later on, to take it easy, eat and drink and be merry. There are several problems with this:

1. One will tend to, in haste, try to toil in our own strength. When we do that, we will miss working in The Lord.

Working in our own strength does not please God, for we would not be sensitive to The Lord, and almost always, if not always, we would miss what The Lord wants done by a mile.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

Working in The Lord, on the other hand, pleases God, for we would be exercising faith, in reliance on The Lord and so would be sensitive to His Spirit, leading to moment by moment we live by and to Him, appreciating He is with us, His grace is extended to us, whatever we are going through, including whatever we are provided as food and drink, and work, they are added to us, by The Lord according Matt 6:33 that said, when we seek first, His Kingdom and His righteousness, all our needs, including satisfaction in our toil, would be added unto us. When we appreciate this, we are full of thanksgiving, and peace and joy in and of the Spirit will well up within us, always, for we would also be then living according to His dictate as told us, in Romans 14:17-18.

Romans 14:17-18 - 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

It is really not a matter of eating and drinking, yet it is who can eat and drink with joy, and can have satisfaction from his toil, APART FROM THE LORD?! With peace and joy in and of the Spirit shed abroad in our heart, a simple meal is no less enjoyable than a meal at a 5-star restaurant.

2. Another problem with our relentless gathering to hound so that we, purportedly, could later on to take it easy, eat and drink and be merry, is that we will miss the "in the moment appreciation and enjoyment" that can and meant to be had from many a
simple fare. Precisely, there is a time and season for everything, time and tide wait for no one. A moment missed is a moment missed, we cannot relive the past, and so, we cannot go back to moments of the past and relive them with gladness which we did not.

3. The last but not the least problem is given by Luke 12:20-21 - v20: But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

You think you will get round to it, take it easy, eat and drink and be merry, but you don't know when you lose that ability before you even begin or worse still, you die; who then would be getting what you have hounded up. What and how the whoever who get holds of the fruit of your relentless toiling, does with it, you may have no control; they may simply squandered it away! Luke 12:21said, if we have not been generous towards God, that may be what would happen to us, we don't get to experience joy from all of our mindless toiling and storing up. From Eccl 2:26, we can see, it is suggested that it may even be, that what is gathered and stored up, be turned over to those who please God.

So, live in the moment in and with The Lord. Rejoice, always, and again, I say, rejoice (Phil 4:4).

Anthony Chia, high.expressions