Kevin Welborn | @TheKevinWelborn
I learn something new almost every day. I wish it were intentional, but most of the time I stumble into it inadvertently. The proverbial blind pig and all that, you know?
C.S. Lewis died on the same day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. See? You just learned something without even trying. Or, maybe you already were aware of that factoid. If so, go learn something on your own, Matt Coker only gives me so much space here and I must use it wisely. He is a heavy-handed dictator and I must please The Back Row.
We are doing a Sunday night Bible study over Ecclesiastes at our church. Through two weeks we have completed the first chapter. This is a weighty book with a somber, if not depressing, tone. A book written by wise, wealthy Solomon should be enumerating tales of travel, bliss, and good-hearted shenanigans.
Instead, Ecclesiastes is permeated by a man dealing with despair. Phrases like “vanity of vanities” and “striving after the wind” are used to describe man’s life “under the Sun”. In other words, Solomon is asking the question, “What does it really matter that you and I get up and go to work every morning? Eventually our generation passes and the next simply carries on the same useless cycle.”
The party only got started when Solomon arrived, people!
Here is the new thing I have learned from Ecclesiastes. “Under the Sun” is not just discussing life on Earth. There is no impending doom of a vain life to which we are all subjected.
“Under the Sun” is an idiom that means “life on Earth without God”. Now it makes sense to me! Everything on this Earth is vanity if God is not involved! There is nothing new in this life if God is not present!
With God, this life is full of hope, promise, and joy. New creations happen often, I would assume daily! Think of yourself, Christian. When you first believed, the Bible says you became new and the old passed away! Angels rejoiced and everything! Exclamation points!
But, let us revisit Solomon. Mr. Smarty McWealthy. He is absolutely miserable when he penned (through divine revelation) these twelve chapters. The reason for his misery is simple. He had become willingly disobedient to God. WILLINGLY. The Lord had specifically forbade Solomon to marry women from different belief systems and Solomon decided that having one thousand women from all over the known world by his side was a good idea.
Solomon was in despair because he disobeyed God. Like Simba did to Mufasa, Solomon deliberately disobeyed.
This answers the question of, “who is the most miserable person in the world?”. It is not the unbeliever, it is the believer who has direct access to God and a moral compass, yet chooses to ignore the precepts of the Almighty.
Take into account your own life today. By which light do you traipse across this land? The light of the Sun only? There lies nothing but grasping at the wind and shadows. Or do you allow the Lord to illuminate your path? Therein exists hope and peace.
Choose correctly. Choose obedience.
Kevin Welborn is the pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM. He is married and has two daughters. He loves his native Texas, sports, and exploring creation. The most famous person he has ever met is someone you have never heard of. You can contact Kevin on Twitter at @theKevinWelborn.