Getting the Most Out of the Mist, Busy With Joy
By Ben Blakey on August 7, 2022
Getting the Most Out of the Mist, Busy With Joy
By Ben Blakey on August 7, 2022
Well, good morning, Compass HB. How are you guys doing this morning? It's great to see you and I bring you greetings from the hinterlands of Idaho this morning from Compass Bible Church, Treasure Valley. God is doing great things up there. It was four years ago this month that my family moved from here in Orange County up to Idaho to start that church. And God is just doing great things up there. A few months into our church, some of you here from Compass came up to Idaho to help us with our first Easter services. And that was an exciting week. And we were so pumped up after that week, because it was like, hey, we filled up this gym where we meet. We filled it up for the first time ever, it was a full room. Well, now we're filling it up three times every weekend. And God is, is working. A big part of it is I don't know if you know this, but there's a pipeline of people leaving Southern California; the end of the pipeline is in the Treasure Valley of Idaho where we live. So, every week we're meeting people that just moved to the area, or they're looking for a church or we're meeting people that they're moving to Idaho thinking that's going to solve all their problems. And I'm here to say, hey, sorry to tell you this, but your biggest problems came with you. But hey, here's where we're going to find the solution. So, jump into God's Word with us. Please pray for us up in Idaho. If you think of us, we're filling up that school three times every weekend, we need more space, we can really use some permanent space. So, we're working on some plans to move to a bigger Middle School here this fall, and also looking at even some specific pieces of land, hopefully trying to get some land that we could build a building on. So please pray for us. But it's a privilege this morning to open up God's Word with you. And as we get to God's Word, I want you to think about how you come together as a church and you see people you haven't seen since last Sunday, and you ask, or you've been asked this question, how was your week? What do you think, all? I mean, how many times has that question been asked here on this campus this morning? And what do you think the most common responses are? Right? If we could Family Feud style, the survey says right, how was your week? I'm guessing the number one answer, and the survey says, good. My Week was good, right? Very detailed, very informative, right? You know, answer to that question. My guess for what the second most common answer would be, busy. How was your week? I was busy. And next time somebody says that to you. If you ask that question, I want you to follow up with this question. Busy with what? Busy with what? And maybe that gets all of you thinking, what were you busy doing this week? Maybe one of the first things that comes to mind is, well, I'm busy with work, I’ve got a lot going on, or I'm busy with home stuff, or I'm busy with family. There are so many things we could say we were busy with. But what if you ask somebody that question, oh, what were you so busy with this week? And they responded, and I was busy with joy. I was just so busy enjoying life this week? Oh, do you think about that? You probably look at that and say that sounds nice. I'd like to do that. I'd like to be busy with joy. I'd like to be busy enjoying my life. Did you know what if I told you that that's exactly how God wants you to be? God wants you to be busy with joy. God wants you to be occupied with joy and enjoyment of the things in your life. Now some of you might be thinking that I show up one of those feel-good churches that doesn't teach about the Bible and just tells me happy things this morning. Well, no, that does raise valid questions. Okay, busy enjoying life. What does that mean? What do you mean by that? And what does that actually look like? And that's where you are going to need one of these this morning. And you're going to need to open up to the book of Ecclesiastes. And you're going to find, no, this is not some feel good messages. So, it's actually going to say some things that shock you here this morning, things that don't feel so good.
So please open up to Ecclesiastes, and we'll be getting a little bit of a survey of the whole book this morning. But we'll be mainly focused on Ecclesiastes 5:8 to 6:9. And Ecclesiastes is something of a unique book, even within the Bible because of how it puts things and how it makes you think. And you're probably familiar with how the book starts, where the preacher says, “Vanity of vanities all is vanity,” and you've heard that word. You've heard that idea before. Some people take that to mean well, vanity means meaningless, and the writer of Ecclesiastes was some really depressed dude, you know, just saying it's all meaningless. It is not the idea, as you'll see, of the book. Literally the Hebrew word translated vanity is the word hevel, which means mist. That's what he's saying, life is a mist. It's like the steam coming off the top of your trolley coffee. Right? It's there, and then it's gone. It's like the smoke when you blow out a candle, right? It's there. It smells good. And then it's gone. And he can't grab a fistful of it. Right? You can't make it last longer. It is what it is. And then it is gone. And he's saying, because that's true, whether you like it or not, that's the way it is, because that's true. Here's how you should live in light of that. And that's why I'm preaching through this earlier this year at Compass Bible Church Treasure Valley. We called our series, Getting the Most Out of the Mist, because that is what the writer of Ecclesiastes is instructing us to do, life is a mist, but here's how you can get the most out of it. Here's how you can live life. Well, that's the idea of wisdom. Why we think of Ecclesiastes often as part of the wisdom literature of the Bible. Are you Hebrew Bible scholars here at Compass Bible Church Treasure Valley, you know. Ecclesiastes is a part of the Writings, one of those five scrolls, the Megillot that we learn these lessons from, and I want us to look, and we'll get a sense of the whole book, as we go through this passage. It breaks down into three sections. It's kind of a pyramid structure of this text, what Bible scholars call chiastic structure, where it makes some arguments, and it all leads up to this one central point. And then on the way out, it kind of makes a lot of those same arguments again.
So, let's look at the first section kind of leading up to the main point in Ecclesiastes 5:8-17. It says, “If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields. He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.”
So here as we get to this passage, especially if you look again at verse 10, where it's warning about loving money, and warning about loving wealth, if you'd been reading through the book of Ecclesiastes, this is pretty well worn territory at this point. This isn't anything new for the book of Ecclesiastes, even at the end, when it starts asking what gain is there for this person? That's a familiar question by this point of Ecclesiastes. To get a little bit of a sense of that, let's go back to chapter 1. Just flip back a couple pages, and you'll see the groundwork of these ideas has already been laid in this book. It says in the very first verse, the words of the preacher, the son of David King in Jerusalem, that's why we think King Solomon wrote this, David’s son, the king in Jerusalem, but he doesn't identify himself by his name. He prefers this title, the preacher. And what is it that the preacher says? “Vanity of vanities,” mist of mists, says the preacher. “Vanity of vanities…All is vanity.” And then he asked this question in verse three, “What does man gain by all his toil at which he toils under the sun? And again, there even is a financial term. What do we gain in this life? And the implied answer is you gain nothing. You work your whole life and at the very end, what do you have? The same you started with, and that's what we saw in chapter 5. Just as you came, you will leave naked, you came naked, you will leave naked, you won't end up with anything extra in the end, because you can't take any of it with you. As many have said, right? You never see the U Haul behind the hearse, right? Because once you die, guess what? All of your stuff is not yours anymore. It belongs to someone else. And the world was here before you got here. And it's going to be here after you too.
And that's all these other ideas that we get to in chapter 1. Again, a familiar section, but it speaks of generations. Ecclesiastes 1:4, “A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” And if you read through Ecclesiastes earlier this year with Scripture of the Day, or you came to where you know through the internet. I was able to talk about a Christmas Ecclesiastes, you might remember this, but for those of you that weren't there, we'll get you up to speed. But there's this idea of generations. And we think of generations, you know, we talk about the baby boomers, and we talk about millennials and Gen Z, and all of this. And do we have any baby boomers here in the room this morning? Any baby boomers here? All right, I see some of you out there. Well, I've got good news. And I've got bad news for you baby boomers. And you always start with the bad news in that scenario. So, we'll start with the bad news. And the bad news is that millennials are going to run the world someday. I am a millennial. And that terrifies me, right? That's a scary thought, the good news, baby boomers, as you probably won't be around to see it because a generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth remains forever. We're all here for a little time, and the world doesn't care so much about you and your life. The brutal realities are there because no matter what happens to you, the sun's going to keep rising and going down, the wind is going to keep blowing, the weather patterns are going to continue, all the streams are going to keep flowing to the sea. And it's all happened before you got here. And it's all happened. It's all going to happen after you leave.
And we do church in middle school. And so, you see all these motivational things around the school with the idea of basically, hey, you can change the world. And the preacher of Ecclesiastes is saying, no, you can't. And you won't, because no matter what you do, the sun's going to keep rising, the winds going to keep blowing, the streams are going to keep flowing. And that's not going to change. And even you know, things you might think of as oh, I've got some new idea, no, what we see later on. There's nothing of which we can say verse 10, this is new, it has already been in the ages before us. And it's all going to happen, and then nobody's going to remember you. I mean, seriously, hundred years from now, it is likely that not one person on planet earth is going to remember that you specifically existed, they're not going to remember your name, or my name hundred years from now, for most of us, at least, and the world is just going to keep going. And now you're starting to realize, no, this is not some feel-good message, right? And that's what Ecclesiastes does is it starts right out of the gate by bursting our bubbles. And that's a good thing because, guess what ,some of our bubbles really need to be burst, and some of the ideas that we get in this life in this world, but we need to get out of those things. And one specific bubble it's really trying to burst is this bubble of wealth and riches. And more specifically, the idea that if I could just get more wealth or more riches, then I could be content, then I would be happy. And the preacher is saying that's a lie. Get over that way of thinking.
So, let's write it down this way for point number one: Unmask the unkept promises of more, because that's what your flesh is going to tell you. That's what the world is going to tell you, it is going to make all these promises or if you just had more of this, if you just had a better job, if you just had a nicer house, if you know your vacation could just be a little bit better, or you just had a little more money in your bank account, then things would be fine. That's getting sold to us every day, but it is a lie. And Ecclesiastes is going to help us see that, and I want you to see that. But I need to say something important. There's a difficulty that is inherent with preaching on verses like Ecclesiastes 5:10, warning us about people who love money and love wealth. And there's a difficulty in preaching on riches. And that difficulty is just about none of you here think of yourselves as rich. And even when you hear things like 1 Timothy 6, where it warns us the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And but the one who desires to be rich falls into a trap. Our reaction is, well, that's not talking about me. I don't want to be rich, because rich people have a lot more than I have. But I only want a little more than what I have. Right? So, I'm okay. Right? Wake up. That's the whole lie right there, because guess what rich people want? A little bit more. And so, when you're saying, well, I don't want a lot more, I just want a little bit more, you're exactly like the rich people. And by any objective standard, just about everybody in this room is pretty rich, actually, all of you are pretty wealthy, living here in Orange County, California in the year 2022. And every single one of us is going to be lied to by ourselves, by the devil, by the world this week, with the idea more will bring happiness, or contentment. That's a trap. Don't fall for that lie. And Ecclesiastes, in this section, verses 8-17 gives us a lot of reasons why it's reasoning with us as to why more cannot deliver on what it promises. And if you were scratching your head at verses 8 and 9, what is going on here with oppression and justice and righteousness and high officials and higher officials and a king committed? What's going on here? And basically, the idea of those verses is, hey, are you frustrated with politics and how the government isn't very efficient at spending money? And wait a minute, that's my money that they're spending, and they're taking too much of my money. Do you ever feel that way? Well, guess what, there's nothing new under the sun. That's how they felt three thousand years ago, hey, our wealth is getting taken up by a higher official and a higher official and a higher official. And it's not really working out so great that some people aren't getting what they need. In all of that there is nothing new. And even you think about how economies work now and how they've always worked, there's a connection between you and other people, and your finances will be affected by other people, and by things you can't control.
We don't need a show of hands, but how many of you have lost wealth in the year 2022? It's not been the best time, stock markets going down, inflation coming up. You frankly don't have as much as you used to have. Is that your fault? Not necessarily. Most of that is based on stuff that you had no control over whatsoever. So, that idea of more? Watch out, because if you have more will more of it going to be taken, more of it's going to be wasted? It's not all you think that it is. And then verse 10, really just reminding us, hey, if you love money, you won't be satisfied with it. If you want more, well, you won't be satisfied with more because, guess what, you'll still want more. More is an impossible destination. Do you like it when the goalposts keep getting moved? I mean, just think about that maybe in the context of your job. You're going to your job, and you think this is the expectation, this is what I'm supposed to do, but you always feel like the expectations for your performance keep getting changed, and you can never arrive at doing a good job. Would you enjoy that job? No, not so much. Well, I'd say and if you want more, if you want to be rich, you're signing up for a whole life of that. And it's your own choosing, because if you want more, you're never going to reach the end zone. It's going to keep moving with you. The more and more that you get you will never arrive. And then Ecclesiastes 5:11. “When goods increase, they increase who eat them? it just tells us the whole idea that more money, more problems. That's not a new idea, either. The preacher has been saying that for three thousand years. When you make more, well, there are more people that consume more and you get to look at it, you have more stuff, but there's more people using it, and it complicates your life. I mean, one thought probably all of us have had from time to time is if I could just come up with one really good idea, right? You see some product and you're watching Shark Tank and you're thinking, man, if I could just come up with one good idea. I could pay for the Double Double project. I could pay off my house. I could be set with just one good idea. Okay. Let's play that out a little bit. You come up with that one good idea. Do you understand that that's actually going to complicate your life in a lot of ways? Who's going to work to make that one idea happen? Who's going to take that from an idea to reality? And now you go on Shark Tank, and there's all this demand. Who's going to fill all of that demand? Now you're going to need workers and factories, and who's going to manage that? And you're going to have cashflow issues, and all of these things, okay, well, now you're making money. Well, now you need an accountant to manage all of that for you. And you need a lawyer on retainer for whenever people are going to try to knock off your product and your good idea to steal it for themselves. And you're going to pay fees for this service and for that service in that bigger house you buy. Well, guess what, that's going to cost more to cool and to heat and to take care of, and that nicer car you bought has nicer parts and nicer tires, and it all costs more. So that one good idea. Sure, there's been more that's come from that. But there's a lot of complications, too. I mean, my wife, when I experienced that, we were given this really nice espresso machine, we're like, oh, this is great. Now we don't need to go out for coffee, you know; this is wonderful. And then as well, now we need nicer beans to go with this espresso machine. And we’ve got to buy like these cleaning tablets and all this stuff to take care of this. Nicer thing, nicer stuff makes more problems and requires more maintenance and costs more money, it never ends. And it doesn't you don't reach a point where it's like, Okay, I've got enough and I'm okay, because look at Ecclesiastes 5:12. It contrast this laborer, the idea of just this simple worker working for what they need, they're sleeping fine at night, but the rich person, and all the stuff they've got, won't let them sleep. Money can't deliver rest, or security, money can't give you peace, because the more you've got of it, the more there is to worry about. The more investments you have, the more there are things to keep track of. And then it gives that sad story in Ecclesiastes 5:13-17 of this person that has riches, but keeps him; he doesn't spend the riches, he doesn't give away the riches, he keeps them and then he loses them in some bad business. Venture. And now he has nothing to give to his son, you know, he ends with nothing. But what did he get? Well, he got a lifetime full of “vexation and sickness and anger,” because that's what he was seeking. And he lost it all. And that's a reminder, again, the temptation is only thing, well, if they just had a little bit more, than I wouldn't have to worry so much. When the reality is if you actually had a little more, you would have more to worry about. And we see that idea also that there is no such thing as a sure thing. You know, whatever you think you're invested in, whether that's the stock market, or real estate, or Bitcoin, or actual coins of gold and silver, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Whatever you're invested in, could blow up and crater tomorrow, you have no control over that. But often the more you're invested, the more you got to keep track of it. And the more especially in our economy right now, the more there is to worry about, the more sleep there is to lose at night, because money can't make you secure or give you the rest that it promises. And that's where right we look at these things. And even I've never, in my life of preaching, preached through a book of the Bible, or more songs came to my mind than Ecclesiastes. And even like songs not even necessarily by Christians or people who are following Jesus, and you think of this idea of money and how it can't satisfy, and more isn't all it's cracked up to be, there are a lot of songs out there by non-Christians that hit it. some of those ideas, maybe some of them are coming to your mind right now. But even the world can get that, right? Even the world can kind of see, yeah, that is a lie.
So, my question this morning is, can you see that? And can you not deflect all of this as though this is a message for other people with more stuff than me? But no, this is something that I need to hear. And can you start seeing the ways in your life where you are starting to even if it's subtle, think well if I just had more of this or a better that, then I would be okay. And start to see that that's a lie. That that is not how it works. And that's where, though we need to realize even the world can see this problem. I hope you see this problem. Do we know the solution? Because just identifying the problem isn't always helpful. Just saying. Well stop. It isn't always what works. You guys know my dad, you know, my brothers that you probably have heard by now. One of the things that my dad taught us all to do is to play golf. And so, we would do that as a family growing up. There's one course in San Antonio, Texas, we played a lot together, Brackenridge Park, and you get to the eighth hole there. It's a simple hole, you’re just one shot from the tee up to the green. The only problem is there's a lake between you and the green. And it's really not even that between you, it's like kind of short and off to the side. But still me and my brothers, every time we would step up to that tee, there was one thought in our head. Don't hit it in the lake. And guess what we would invariably do? Hit it in the lake. We hit it in the lake so much that my dad started calling it Blakey Lake, after how many golf balls we deposited in that small pond, right? But he who actually knows what he's doing, he would get up he wasn't even thinking about the lake, he was looking at the flag, he was looking at the green, and that's where he would hit it. How do we do that spiritually this morning? Okay?
This is the problem. More won't deliver more. It can't, it can't cash in on what it's promising. So, what do I do instead? That's the question we need to ask. And that's the question that Ecclesiastes goes on to answer in that next section, which is the focal point of this passage, chapter 5:18-20. It says, “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. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” So where is this whole idea of being busy with joy coming from? Right there at the end of verse 20, God is keeping him occupied, busy with joy in his heart. But where is that joy coming from? Seeking more, finding wealth, riches, thrills, whatever? No, it comes from the simple things, it talks about eating, and drinking, and working. Isn't that what most of our days consist of? We wake up, we eat some food, we go work hard, we come home, we eat some more food, we go to bed, and we do it over again. And he's saying, what's good and fitting, what's right is to enjoy that. Enjoy your food, enjoy your drink, enjoy your work, get busy enjoying those things? And at the end of your life, you'll be like, wow, where did it all go? Because I was so busy enjoying what God gave me.
Let's put this down for point number two: Get busy savoring God's daily gifts. Get busy savoring God's daily gifts. And what I want you to see is, again, sometimes the world gets those ideas of, hey, just enjoy what you have. But what I want you to see that's different about what this passage is saying, then what the world is often saying is that this passage really starts with theology. It really hits it, what do you believe about God? Because I hope you noticed as I read verses 18 through 20, what word there is used more than any other word. God. It's there in every verse. “Behold, what I've 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. Also, “Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions, and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil--this is the gift of God. For he will not remember much the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” So, this idea of being busy with joy, positive vibes can't get you there. Right? The sociology, psychology, they can't get you there. It takes theology to get you there. It takes thinking about the right things about God to get there. And you notice there multiple times it talks about the idea of a gift from God. Life is something that God has given. God has given wealth, and even God has given the power to enjoy that. It's almost like it's separating those things. Not only is whatever money you have, and whatever possessions you have a gift from God, but also the ability to enjoy those things is a gift from God, as well. And it all comes back to being a gift from God. And really, it gets to understanding that God is in control of all of this.
Again, in theology, we have a word to describe that with God and we refer to the Providence of God. And that word Providence really sums up multiple things about God. It has the idea that God is sovereign. He is in control, he's the king. What God wants to happen happens, but also has the idea, well, God's wise, he knows what should happen. He knows what is best. And Providence also has the idea, well, the God is he's also good. He wants what is best. And so, we view life through this prism of what God is providential. He's sovereign, he's wise, he's good. And I see everything in my life through that lens.
And so, I view what's in front of me today as a gift from a good sovereign wise God. And again, that's hard for us to put together but we see more of that in chapter three, turn with me to Ecclesiastes chapter three. And it says there in the beginning, “For everything there is a season. Now I feel like I need to stop right there and explain that a little bit. Because in Idaho, we have these things called seasons, winter, spring, summer fall. Have you guys heard of those? In the summer, like we have winter here? really real? I know, you guys have jackets and beanies, and you bust them out when it gets down to 55 degrees, right? Well, we have months that go by without ever seeing 40 degrees, and there's this white stuff that falls down from the sky, and sometimes it sticks on the ground, and you have to shovel it out of your driveway. It's called Snow. You might have seen pictures of it before, but we get it. Right? And you think through the seasons, and they all have good things about them and bad things about them. Right? Right now, it's summer in Idaho, and it gets you think this is hot, it gets really hot in Idaho over the summer. But there's also like, we get just loads of daylight in the summertime in Idaho. It's awesome, right? You wake up at 530 in the morning, it is already light outside, and you go to bed at 10, 10:30 at night, it's still a little bit light outside. And it's just awesome. You can tuck your kids in bed and still sneak out for nine holes afterwards of golf. There's so much daylight, but it has its positives and its negatives. The winter, you know, the snow, it looks pretty, it's nice to have that change of pace. But after a few months of that you're like, okay, when is it going to start warming up again? And that's what the seasons of life are like. And that's what it goes on. You've heard this in songs before, starting in Ecclesiastes 3:2, there's “a time to be born, and a time to die.” And there are all these pairs of things, verse three, there's “a time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up.” And if left to our own devices, we look at all of those pairs of things. And we say one of those things is good, and one of those things is bad, is what we say. And if again, left to our own devices, we would always choose what we feel like is good and never choose the things that are bad. We're always going to choose the time to laugh, and we won't choose the time to weep. But this is saying, no, God knows what he's doing. Every season has its place. And every season, God is working through it both the ones you feel like, yes, I like that, and the ones that we wouldn't choose. How does that work? We'll go to Ecclesiastes 3:9. “What gain has the worker from his toil?”
Again, that's like the third time you've heard that question from Ecclesiastes already in this sermon. And he goes on to say, “I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with, he has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end.” Right? It's saying God's working it all out. But we have a sense of that we have, a sense of eternity. We know God's working in is something good, but we don't know what it is. And we can't see what God has done. Maybe you know, or if on a family vacation this summer one of the things you have done is put a puzzle together, right? You dedicate one of the tables in your Airbnb to that puzzle table. And we do that because there's something satisfying about putting the pieces together and starting to see the picture take shape. Well, what this life is like is like a puzzle is getting put together, except this puzzle is being put together on a glass table. And your vantage point is you're on your back under the table looking up. And so, there's a puzzle being put together, but I can't see what it's looking like. Well, that piece. Why are we doing that piece right now? And we can't see the picture. And that's what our experience is like as human beings. We know God's putting something together, but we can't see what he is doing. But we have to trust that well. He's made everything beautiful in its time and what God is doing is good, even though some of the seasons I don't like, but I trust that he's doing something good. And then in verse 12, it gets back to some of the same exact words we saw in chapter five. “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.” That's like the chorus of Ecclesiastes, we sing songs, and we sing the verse, and then it comes back to the same chorus. This is the chorus of Ecclesiastes, hey, there's nothing better than to eat, and drink and find enjoyment in your work, which is like, the one thing people probably complain about the most in this life. Enjoy, that is God's gift. And what enables us to actually do that is having the right theology, there is a good, wise, sovereign God who is working everything into something beautiful. And so even though it feels like I'm in the time to weep, I will still enjoy the good gifts and the daily things of life that God has given to me, because I trust him.
I want to keep us mostly in Ecclesiastes this morning, but just one other reference. Maybe just write this reference down that shows you how this works out, is Hebrews 13:5-6. It says some similar things. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.” How do you do that, for God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say. ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” He's making these same commands as Ecclesiastes, don't love money, be content with what you have? How do you do that? You believe the right things about God? You know, God is never going to leave me. He's never going to forsake me. The Lord is my helper. Why do I need to be afraid? Why do I need to desire more? I can be content because I know who God is. And that's the lesson we all need to learn. And that's going back to chapter 5. It tells us, hey, because we believe these things about God, embrace the gifts that God has given you; enjoy where God has you right now, the simple things today that you are going to do. And that's why the book of Ecclesiastes is very personal to me. It's a book that really changed my life. It came into my life when I desperately needed it. At that point, the first time I really studied Ecclesiastes, I was a junior in high school. And I grew up you guys know my brothers, Bobby and Bill. I was really close with my brothers growing up. And at this point, they were gone. They were out of the house, and I was the only kid still at home. And I looked out at their lives Bill was in college; looked like he was having the time of his life. Bobby, you know, just got married and was doing ministry. I'm looking at what they're doing, and I'm like, man, that looks awesome. And man, my life stinks. Here as a junior in high school in San Antonio, Texas, spending my days doing advanced math and chemistry and English, right? I can't wait till I get to go do what they're doing.
And that's when my Bible teacher, who I would meet with and have breakfast tacos every week, showed up one Tuesday morning with a book on Ecclesiastes, called be satisfied, and said, hey, let's go through this together. And that book and this book of the Bible rebuked me, and it told me the way you're living right now is foolish. And also, more importantly, the way you're living right now doesn't honor God. It doesn't honor God to say, well, what I have right now is lame, but what I think I'm going to get later, that's exciting, right? That does not look at your station in life as a gift from God, as your lot in life. And one of the things that book on Ecclesiastes said about our passage here in chapter 5 was this. It says, don't plan to live, start living now. Be satisfied with what God gives you and use it all for his glory. And that's what I needed to hear because I was planning to live later thinking oh, my life will get better someday. Instead of understanding no I need to start living right now and realize where God has me right now is a gift from God. Who am I to say this is a lame gift? That's not a good thing. And that's what I really want you to start seeing from Ecclesiastes, being busy with joy. Yes, it does bless you. It is the best way to live. But what's even more important is it honors God; it gives him the glory that he deserves.
And so, you need to get busy today, enjoying the daily gifts that God has given you. You need to savor them. Even that word savor it gets us thinking about food and drink, does it not? It gets us thinking about the things that we taste. You know, one of the negative things about Idaho is we don't have In-N-Out Burger. At least not yet. It's coming in a couple years, but we don't have it right now. So, when the family when we come back to California, well, that's one of the highlights is eating an In-N-Out. And that first bite of that Double Double, when you haven't had one for months or a year, what do you do with it? You savor it, right? Oh, there's the meat. There's the cheese. There's the bun. God is good, right? That's what you think to yourself. Is that how you go through your life every day savoring the blessings that God gives? Do you really believe when the Bible says things like he's given us all things richly to enjoy? And as Christians, do we even look beyond just the physical blessings in our lives to understand the spiritual blessings, and how God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places? Can you take a minute and just think through a typical morning, and all the things that you should savor as gifts from God? I mean, do you wake up in the morning that there's the first gift to savor? You have life another day? Do you get out of bed and put on something comfortable? Maybe your favorite robe or you put on a sweatshirt so you can go outside and enjoy the cool of a Huntington Beach morning? Do you realize that not everyone in the world lives this close to the ocean and experiences those temperatures? And that breeze right? Do you savor that? Do you drink a cup of coffee and say, oh man, what a great gift from God? Are you thinking? Well, man, finances are tight right now. So, the only thing I can afford is you know that just like pre ground Folgers stuff?
That's exactly what I'm talking to you. You're saying, well, I wish I had something nicer. No, enjoy what you have. Do you get to spend time in God's word, and in prayer in the secret place alone with God in the morning and remind yourselves of the truth that he will never leave me or forsake me that, the Lord is my helper and as you read God's Word and pour out your heart to him, your soul is revived. Is that just another thing on your checklist every day? Or do you savor that? Do you get to enjoy one of the simple blessings in the entire world? A good hot shower, right? You get to savor that in the morning. Do you thank God for his new mercies? Think of all we've savored, and you haven't even got dressed yet? Right? Get busy doing that. And you won't be so worried about, well, is this going to happen today? Or what was going to happen here? Don't get busy enjoying what God has given you? And maybe you think okay, well, what about tragedy, pastor? What about when really bad things happen? And I know there are some of you here today that are going through things that are really hard. Some of you are fighting cancer, or you've lost a loved one, or you've lost a job. And life is painful and hard and uncertain. As a pastor, you get a front row seat to so much suffering and you see people thrive through hard times. And you see people fall apart in hard times. One of the things that the people who thrive have in common is this is the way they live, even in trials. Every blessing that they get, even when things are hard, they're so thankful for it. And that doesn't mean that the trial becomes easy, no, it's painful. It's hard, but their focus is on the right place. And when we do that, it helps us but, more importantly, it honors God because it gives him the credit and the glory that he deserves for giving us good gifts.
Turn with me. Let's just look at a couple other passages that get this idea across. Go to Ecclesiastes 9:7. It says, “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.” When you go out from your day, and you go enjoy your lunch, God is saying, I approve. Because just like when you give somebody else a gift and you see them using it, and you see them enjoying it, what does that do to you? It puts a smile on your face. Well, God enjoys, God rejoices when he sees us using and enjoying the gifts that he has given us. And so, verse 8, “Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.” When would their garments be white? When would they put on oil? Normally those were the special occasions. He's saying, hey, make every day a special occasion, view even the simple things in life as special. Is that how you're living? Are you thinking, well, today, I'm just going to church and then going home and taking a nap. Okay, let's break that down. Just going to church. Is that how we're going to think about this? Is this just another Sunday or is today a unique opportunity for you to come and worship the true and living God and to hear his voice through his Word and to fellowship with his people. Just going to church. That's not how we should think about this. This is a special occasion. And even I can make an argument for just taking a nap. I mean, make that the best nap in the history of naps this afternoon, right? Go for it, enjoy it as a gift from God. Or look at what it says next. And I need the husbands in the room to pay a little extra attention here because it's calling you out here, it's going to tell you something intense. Brace yourself for this intense command from God to husbands, enjoy life with your 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. Husbands enjoy life with your wife. And that's where I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking that sounds good. But that would be a little bit easier if my life with my wife was a little more enjoyable. That's what some of you are thinking if you're being honest. But do you see how that's the whole trap we've been talking about in this message? What was the key word in that sentence “more,” if my wife was more enjoyable, then things would be better. That's the whole lie that the world is selling. And that's the lie that some of you are starting to buy into. And if you really think that's the problem, your wife needs to be more enjoyable, the real problem is that you husband are not being obedient, because God commanded you enjoy life with your wife, whom you love. And it goes on to explain because this is what God has given you, your wife is God's gift to you. How dare you look at God and say, why couldn't she have given me something better? And if that's really the way you're thinking, you need to go home today and get down on your knees and repent before God and say, God, I shouldn't talk that way. I shouldn't think that way. And then you need to get down on your knees before your wife and confess that to her, and say, babe, you're not the problem. My attitude is the problem. And I'm turning away from that today. That's how we put this message into action.
Well, let's look at something else. Something that you're not going to have expected to hear the Bible say or hear at church. Go to chapter 11. And now I need the young people, maybe the young single people in the room, you can perk up a little bit at Ecclesiastes 11:9. It says, “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” Did you hear that young people is basically saying, hey, young people, what do you want to do? Go do it and enjoy it. Go have fun in this great world. God has created an amazing world. And he's given us senses to feel and to enjoy all these things. Go out there and enjoy it, young people, and do it while you still can, before your body starts breaking down or before responsibilities start creeping, and travel now while it's easy, and it's just you to worry about and it's not as expensive. Serve more in the church. Now when you know, hey, I can serve at this and this, and this, because I've got time. Do it. Drive through Taco Bell at 11:30 at night and eat it because you can still do that without feeling like you got hit by a truck the next morning, right? Enjoy those things now. And clearly, this isn't a call to go out and experiment with sin and the pleasures of the world. No, God has put boundaries around what is good and enjoyable for our own good. Let's stay within those boundaries. But there is so much good and fun that God has created. Go enjoy it. And if you're thinking, well, I'm not young, I wish I was still young. Well guess what, no matter how old you are, you're as young as you're ever going to be again. So, enjoy what God has given you now. Enjoy what you can still do in your stage of life. And see that way of thinking, yes, it benefits you but it honors God. When you're saying where God has me right now is good and God's making it into something beautiful, and I'm going to trust him, and I'm going to enjoy it.
Let's go back to our passage. We'll start chapter 6. We'll look at this more quickly because it is now kind of rehearsing many of the things we saw in that first passage, but it really starts to think through that sense of loss. And maybe you've experienced, you know, the simple frustration of losing a gift card, right? It gets sucked into some vortex in the back of some drawer in your kitchen. And years later, you pull it out and you're like, ah, I still have this gift card, it has $100 on, that place went out of business. And you feel that man, what a waste, right? I could have used this. I could have enjoyed this, but now it's gone. And it's just a piece of plastic now, right? And we think, oh, yeah, that's a bummer. This tells us something that's even worse. It says in verse one, there is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind. A man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires. He's got everything he ever wanted. Yet, God does not give him the power to enjoy them. But a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity, it is a grievous evil. If a man fathers hundred children and lives many years so that the days of his years are many, and his soul is not satisfied with life's good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. That's an intense statement because if you've ever known someone or experienced yourself, a stillborn child, that is a painful, tragic thing. And it's saying, this person that has everything and doesn't enjoy them, that's even worse. And he explains why for this baby. It comes in vanity and goes in darkness and in darkness, its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest even though he should live thousand years twice over yet enjoy no good, do not all go to the one place. All the toil of man is for his mouth. And yet his appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool the sense being they both die in the end? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself better than the living and then it gets to this punch line, summing up a lot of this in verse nine. Better is the “sight of the eyes” than the wandering of the appetite, for this also is vanity and striving after wind. Better to be content with what you have, with what God has put in front of you, what you can see, than to always be chasing after someone else, something else. Because that's the story of this guy. He had everything. But instead of rejoicing in what he had in front of him and what he could see he was chasing something else. And what a tragedy that is.
Let's put that down for point number three: See the tragedy of discontentment. See the tragedy of discontentment. And that's what I want you to see that tragedy is going on all the time in our world today, that tragedy is happening to some of you right here in this room right now. Because it can start like I was thinking in high school. Yeah, being in high school is lame. But man, when I get to college, then life will be good. Because if that's really how you think, this is what happens. You get to college, oh, man, I can't wait to graduate. When I graduate, then things will be better. And then you graduate, and you think well now it'd be really cool to get married, then my life would feel complete. And so, you get married and then you start thinking, man, renting is a pain; if we could own a home, right? Then we'd be so much better off and financially stable. So, then you own a home. And well, now it's time to have kids and you know, it'd be kind of cool when these kids grow up and they go off to college, right? And then the kids go off to college, and then they get married, you're thinking, you know, what would really make our life complete now, grandkids, and then you get grandkids, but you don't have any time to spend with them. So, you start thinking, well, it'd be really great if I could retire and have more of that time. And the next thing you know, you're dead. And you spent your whole life saying, my life will be better in the next season, and your whole life was a waste. Because instead of enjoying what God gave you when he gave it to you, instead of the sight of your eyes, you are always consumed with the wandering of your appetite, looking for someone else. And I want you to see that's a sad thing. But it happens all the time. And I don't want that to happen to you. I don't want you to live your life. That way. God doesn't want you to live your life that way. The preacher of Ecclesiastes doesn't want you to live your life that way. And I want you to see yes, there are two ways of living here. One is actually enjoyable, for you get busy with joy. But what enables that is having the right view of God. And that's really what's most important. Living life that way honors God as the good, sovereign, wise, creator, king that he is. So, there are two ways you can leave here today. There's two ways you can approach this next week. You can approach it with worry and anxiety and discontentment, or disappointment. Or you can approach it with trust, with expectation, with a confident joy that, no matter what happens, you're going to enjoy what God brings your way. What's the difference between those two ways? It's going to start with what you believe what you really believe about God, Compass HB, do you believe that God is good? Good. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his steadfast love endures forever. If you really believe that you're going to live a different way. And for some of you, maybe you're new to the church, maybe this is new stuff to you, there's really two ways to live. And I want to help. I hope this helps you see that, that God's way is a better way, giving him the honor, it ends up being better for you, as well. And God calls us to turn from our sin in our way and being the center of our own universe, to repenting, turning from our standing, putting our faith in God, he is the king, he is the one that I am trusting in. So, I hope that blesses all of us. And I know that even some of what we've talked today, it's a struggle for all of us. A lot of this idea of being busy with joy, it is easier said than done. When you're going through a trial, when the season of life that comes up this week is problems and frustration and pain, it's a little easier said than done to really say, okay, this is a good gift from God, and I'm going to enjoy the daily gifts of life. And so, we want to, I want to sing a song for you that comes from the book of Ecclesiastes. And really at its heart, this song is a prayer, asking God to help us apply and believe all the things that we have talked about. So, let me pray for us.
Father, we do want to come before you and we do desperately want to ask for your help. God, we do live in a world that that can be so difficult, God, and life is hard, and it is a mist and that things don't go the way that we've planned and we're not in control. But we want to ask that you would help us to trust you because you are in control. You are wise, you are good, God. And Lord, we want to end our days and be able to look back and say, wow, where has the time gone because I've been so busy with joy. God, that's how we want to live. Help us to see that that way of living is only possible with a right view of you, God, and help us to trust that you are the God who makes everything beautiful. And we pray this in Your name. Amen.
The Times just keep on going. The word’s never done. The preacher says there's nothing new under the sun. No matter what I do. God has been his word will be open up my eyes, Lord and help me to see you make everything beautiful, beautiful, everything beautiful in time to teach me to trust you and I don't know the reason and help me be faithful in every season because thousand years from now, I look back and say you made everything beautiful. The world keeps chasing riches. It's never enough. The end of all mankind is returning to best. The best thing I can do is to enjoy all that she gives to fear and obey you as long as I live, to fear and obey you as long as I live. You make everything beautiful, beautiful, everything beautiful in time. Should teach me to trust you and I don't know the reason and help me be faithful in every season because thousand years from now, I look back and say you made everything beautiful. There's nothing as good as seeing your hand. When life seems veiny you have a plan. You said in my heart, eternity. When life seems vain, help me see. There's nothing as good as seeing your hand. When life seems vain. You have a plan. You said in my heart eternity. When life seems vain, help me see you make everything beautiful, beautiful, everything beautiful in time. Teach me to trust you and I don't know the reason and help me be faithful in every season because thousand years from now, I'll look back and say you made everything beautiful. You made everything beautiful. You make everything beautiful.
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