Yesterday evening my Wednesday men’s group wrapped up our study of Ecclesiastes. It wasn’t necessarily planned this way, but finishing up less than two weeks ahead of Christmas provided a strong context for our closing conversation.
There’s no end to the excessive production of scrolls. Studying too much wearies the body. So this is the end of the matter; all has been heard. Worship God and keep God’s commandments because this is what everyone must do. God will definitely bring every deed to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or bad. – Ecclesiastes 12
So every week we meet, we catch up on what is going on in our lives, we pray for one-another, and we share our responses to the timeless wisdom of the scriptures.
I look around the room at the men present. Scientists, teachers, inventors, entrepreneurs, accomplished businessmen. Men with advanced degrees, doctorates and more. Guys who literally travel the world sometimes because corporations need to harness their brainpower.
And they wrestle with God’s word.
Wrestling with God:
Ecclesiastes is clear: Life and the achievements of humankind, all the pleasure and the learning and the work and the advancements we accomplish, all of it is pointless, meaningless and vanity – “a chasing of the wind.”
“So go for it,” The Teacher declares, “knock yourself out! But understand you’re fooling yourself if you think any of it amounts to anything in the random, self-serving world we create for ourselves when God is not the central value in the equation.”
So these accomplished intelligent high-achieving men sit around the table and in all sincerity nod their heads in agreement. None of this, no constituent part of their lives, is of any consequence… Unless, that is, we live consciously as Children of God. Children of God created with purpose, loved, forgiven, redeemed, and set free to make an impact that is unimaginable in any context other than faith.
“So what?” is my wife Rebekah’s favorite Bible-study question. In the men’s Bible-study group our “so what” challenges us to live “Risky Lives” in response to the imperative that is God’s word.
What does that mean?
- It means taking this faith journey seriously.
- It means loving God so intentionally that the world around us is changed in response to all that light and life.
- It means taking the risk of living as if the wisdom of the ages is true, that all this “stuff” we surround ourselves with is unimportant in the Great Scheme of Things, and that we can still – even as a bunch of middle-aged men, turn things around for God and with God if we only follow Jesus.
Gotta love a good challenge, huh? – 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.