Wisdom is a shelter – Ecclesiastes 7
Over the past few weeks I have been sharing insights from the book of Ecclesiastes as we have uncovered them in my Wednesday evening men’s group. Ecclesiastes is part of the Wisdom Literature section of the Bible and the focus of the conversation always centers around finding meaning in life as opposed to “chasing after the wind.”
I have this image in my mind of people constantly sifting through their lives, searching for what is true, what is of substance, what leads us toward purpose, and what really satisfies. There are so many shiny things that distract and stumbling blocks in the way, there is such a mountain of detritus and false information.
Our experience of living in this culture is saturated with so much confusion that the quest for wisdom is seldom even engaged.
So we gather – small groups of men in the context of a church family where we are encouraged to take hold of what the New Testament describes as the life that is truly life. We come, we ask ourselves hard questions, and we rest in the knowledge of God’s love, and we walk with Jesus, and we try to be open to the prompting of the Spirit.
At home this week I have been working on my desk and my study, sorting through the piles of stuff and accumulated papers and things I have simply crammed onto shelves and into corners because I didn’t know quite what to do with them. Along the way I have uncovered a few treasures, items I would not have discovered unless I had first been willing to address the fact that most of what I have been shuffling around was choking out what actually mattered.
That’s when I found the photograph – one of my all-time favorites. That walk on the beach with Rebekah was one of those exhilarating moments where so much was in the process of coming together for us in the right way. It represents standing on the threshold of newness and possibility and redirection and faith. In this photograph I am not chasing after the wind but standing firm and understanding exactly where we are rooted and where we are going.
Fast and Hard:
Life from day to day offers an ongoing opportunity to engage what is meaningful and to put everything else in its proper place. This is a constant challenge because the false narrative and the invitation to chase after the wind comes at us fast and hard and from every direction.
This is why it is imperative that we put ourselves in the place where God’s love is always front and center, where the message is clear, and where encouragement is never far away. Weekly worship, small-group Bible study, daily prayer and devotion as a family, engagement in mission, the accountability of vibrant Christian community.
Gotta go – more on this tomorrow. Peace – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.