In the age of social media and cell phones said to “bring us closer together” how amazing is it that a creature such as a dog still has the ability to do the same without any means of technology.
Okay, I admit that my mind wrestles with some of the strangest thoughts. Here’s one of them. What will I eat in heaven? I happen to love meat; pork, steak, chicken, seafood, etc. So I wonder, will there be meat in heaven? It seems to me that killing anything in our glorified home, with the intention of eating it, would be taboo.
I am one of those who believe we will eat in heaven, for enjoyment, not out of need. So the nagging question continues to rattle around in my head. It saddenes me a little that the possibility exists meat may never appear on heaven’s menu.
Then, I considered bread. I do love bread of any kind! I consider a peanut butter and jelly sandwich a food staple to this day. I also considered fruit and acknowledged how much I love it, especially apples. The many kinds of cheeses and cheese products I enjoy so much breached my thoughts. I found myself considering nutritious grains, and the many products made from it like pasta. Veggies, coffee, milk, and other drinks would also be available. Suddenly, I had a reason to smile. Maybe, just maybe, I could do without meat. Lol.
I was ready to put the matter to rest until one final thought flashed through my mind, in heaven there will be ice cream and pie!!
Rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven will be great… Matthew 5:12a
Here is the text of a message I gave today. How many of you have heard of King Solomon of the Bible? Today I want to talk about Solomon’s search for the true meaning of life.
If you have your Bibles, turn with me to the book of Ecclesiastes. One of the three books in the Bible attributed to Solomon. We know from the book of Proverbs that Solomon was a very wise man with a wealth of practical knowledge. Ecclesiastes, however, shows us a different side of King Solomon. Solomon is said to have written Ecclesiastes as he neared the end of his days. If we had the time to explore the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes it would seem that Solomon spent his whole life searching for that great something that could give life lasting meaning. This aging king is getting restless.
Ecclesiastes 1:2 states, “Vanity, vanity all is vanity.” Has anyone here heard this expression before? Solomon’s words highlight the brevity of human life in the grand scheme of the universe. Life is but a breath, a vapor, or as one person put it, vanity is like a beautiful soap bubble that appears, floats momentarily and vanishes quickly.
Ecclesiastes 1:3, “What advantage does a man have in all his work which he does under the sun?” Solomon goes on to tell us in the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes how he spent his whole life gathering riches, believing that it would bring him lasting happiness and contentment. Instead, he found it wasn’t the answer. Then, he took his great wealth and poured it into massive building projects. He spent more of it on extravagant entertainment and objects of pleasure, yet, nothing he pursued gave him the lasting satisfaction or fulfillment he so desperately sought. He turned to knowledge and tried to reason his way out of the problem.
In Ecclesiastes 2:17 we read, “So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after the wind.” Do you find yourself at times hating life?
In my own life I worked for a company for more than 30 years. I believed if I could dedicate myself to my job that it would give me everything in life I needed. I was willing to donate my entire life to it. When the company began to fail and people were laid off, salaries were cut, and prospects for advancement evaporated, I found myself trapped. I suddenly found myself hating and suddenly started worrying about what I would do for a job when this one failed. My career felt futile and striving after the wind.
Solomon, one of the wisest men of his day could not figure out the true meaning of life. I should point out that we encounter the phrase “under the sun” many times in Ecclesiastes. From what I’ve studied it appears to mean anything we do in life as human beings apart from God.
Follow along as I read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
These verses offer a good cross-section of life. Life holds good times and bad times. We don’t whine or complain about the good times, but no one wants to find him or herself in a bad season of life. Every aspect of life occurs under the watchful eye of heaven.
Solomon believes the events in our lives are governed by a set time and perhaps more importantly, a purpose. He sees that there is something at work in the world and in his life over which he has no control over. Nothing happens around him by chance, or “just because. ” The writer of Ecclesiastes is saying that all of life, your life, my life, is part of a grand design and guided by divine providence. “To everything there is a time or a season under heaven.”
What season are you in in your life? Whatever season you are in, good or bad, there are two things I want you to know:
First, you are not alone. If you know God, Romans 8:35-39 concludes that nothing in the universe can separate us from God’s love. If you don’t have a relationship with God, John 3:16 tells us just how much God loves every person. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not parish but have eternal life.” God sent Jesus Christ to make it possible for sinners to find God and have a relationship with him. You are not alone.
The second thing you need to know is that whatever season you find yourself in God knows (and cares) about the things you are dealing with. Any trouble you may be experiencing, any doubts, fears, pain, or heartache did not just happen by chance. God has a plan and a purpose for every person. We may not like the season of life we are in but God is right there with you. In the words of Moses found in Deuteronomy 31:6, “God will not leave you or forsake you.” And “if God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
Getting back to our text, Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything appropriate in its time, He also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from beginning to end.” Putting eternity in our hearts is God’s call for us to seek him out. He wants us to know that this flawed physical world in which we live is not his final solution. Solomon reminds us that all of life can’t be explained. There will be things that happen in this life that we won’t understand until we reach the eternal shores of heaven.
So what about Solomon’s search for the true meaning of life? Solomon is telling us in the book of Ecclesiastes, “Listen to me! I’ve tried everything!” Searching for happiness apart from God is pointless (vanity, vanity, all is vanity). Dr. David Jeremiah put it this way; you won’t find eternal satisfaction in temporary, worldly things.
Solomon is imploring us instead of searching for the meaning of life, to search out the One who gives life it’s meaning. Let me say that again, instead of wasting your life searching for the meaning of life, search out the One who gives life it’s meaning. Once we have found God who gives life meaning, we may not understand everything that is happening to us and around us but we know whatever it is God loves us and its for God’s greater good and His glory. In God we can find peace.
In Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 Solomon has this to say about life if we are aligned with the One who gives life it’s meaning. “I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to do good so long as they live. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of God.” ASV
Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:33, don’t worry about having enough stuff like food and clothes. Your heavenly father knows perfectly well that you need these things. God will give you these gifts if you give him first place in your life and live, as he wants you to live.
May God bless you and may you experience God’s peace in your life. He is the One who gives life it’s meaning.
If you are considering getting a dog for the first time or perhaps adding another one to your fold, consider this quote from Suzzanne Clothier from her book, “Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs.” (I have not read her book but I like this quote.)
“There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.”
A random thought came to me as I was brushing my teeth today. My morning breath was quickly whisked away by the cleansing action of a little mouthwash and some toothpaste. Brushing is something we are supposed to do multiple times a day but when we fail to do so our mouths become dirty, our breath, bad, and our teeth susceptible to decay.
I was reminded of how things can spiral downward in our spiritual lives if we don’t take steps to keep our hearts and mind clean. One of my favorite scriptures deals with the issue of spiritual maintenance.
But if we confess our sins to him, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9
Check out Natalie Grant’s new song, “Clean,” if you get a chance. “There’s nothing too dirty that You can’t make worthy. You wash me in mercy, I am clean”