● Ecc 11:1-2 . . Send your bread forth upon
the waters; for after many days you will find it. Distribute portions to seven
or even to eight, for you cannot know what misfortune may occur on earth.
In Solomon's opinion; a well-rounded person is charitable.
Altruism is one of those characteristics that should be included in everyone's
social résumé; and makes us a better person for it. Nowadays, college aspirants
have to put in some time benefiting their communities in some way because it
looks good on a college application.
They say charity begins at home. From there, it moves on out
into the neighborhood, and ultimately into the world: foreign aid for example.
Some people object to foreign aid because it drains American resources badly
needed on the home front. But drain or not, it's a good policy. Not only is it
humanitarian, and therefore morally right; but you just never know when America
herself will be down and out and the very people who were down on their luck
that we assisted with weapons, food, technology, and medicine, might one day
reciprocate and help us out in some way.
"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain
friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into
eternal dwellings." (Luke 16:9)
America is sometimes accused of buying friends with foreign
aid, and no doubt some of that is true. But not always. And even if it were 100%
true; so what? You don't need to love people to be charitable. It makes good
sense to build yourself a base of good will just in case you need a favor some
day. People you have helped are more inclined to help you back than those you
ignored; and in this big bad world, you need all the friends you can get.
Most of the time, guests wear out their welcome and sometimes
are even asked to leave. But "eternal dwellings" suggests that out of gratitude
for your charity, your host is likely to be favorably inclined to invite you to
remain as long as you like.
Ecc 11:3-6 . . If the clouds are filled, they will pour down rain on
the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, the tree will stay
where it falls. If one watches the wind, he will never sow; and if one observes
the clouds, he will never reap.
. . .
Just as you do not know how the life-breath passes into the limbs within the womb of the pregnant woman, so you
cannot foresee the actions of God, who causes all things to happen. Sow your
seed in the morning, and don’t hold back your hand in the evening, since you
don’t know which is going to succeed, the one or the other, or if both are
Just about any mention of a "God" in the book of Ecclesiastes
is superficial rhetoric, and has nothing to do with genuine faith.
What Solomon is saying is: If people waited until all the
conditions were just right, life would pass them by. In other words:
Life is a risk. Take it.
● Ecc 11:7-8 . . How sweet
is the light, what a delight for the eyes to behold the sun! Even if a man lives
many years, let him enjoy himself in all of them, remembering how many the days
of darkness are going to be. The only future is nothingness!
We know from the revealed portions of scripture that the
future is definitely not darkness and nothingness. But from the point of view of
the man under the sun, one's existence on earth is relatively brief in
comparison to one's non-existence in the grave. Philosophically then, it's
stupid to deny one's self the pleasures this life has to offer when death is so
In the movie "Moonstruck", Olympia Dukakis' character asks Danny Aiello's
character why men chase women. He suggested that men chase women because they
fear death. Well, if not the moment of death, then surely they fear the aging
process that gets men to the moment of death; which is the root cause of the
so-called middle-age crisis. The aging process then, is a sort of world-wide
pandemic for which there is no known cure; and the condition thus far has always
● Ecc 11:9-10 . . O
youth, enjoy yourself while you are young! Let your heart lead you to enjoyment
in the days of your youth. Follow the desires of your heart and the glances of
your eyes— but know well that God will call you to account for all such things—
and banish care from your mind, and pluck sorrow out of your flesh! For youth
and dark hair are fleeting.
I let my past go too fast
No time to pause.
If I could slow it all down,
Like some captain whose ship runs aground,
I could wait until the tide comes around
(RUSH: Time Stand Still, 1987)
Life can't be put on hold, nor can one pause and savor the
moment because moments are momentary. The instant moments happen, they become
fixed in the frozen sea of the past. People who think to save themselves for
marriage for example, can do no such thing. One cannot save life as if it were
possible to put life in storage. No, life goes on. When people try to save
themselves for later; they only end up letting themselves go to waste because
youth isn't static; no, youth is left behind like the treads of a rope bridge
crumbling off behind you for every step taken as you cross over to the other
side; ergo: the time to live life is while you have it; not wait to live it
later after you've gone to seed. That rope bridge steadily gets to the point
when there are no treads left to retrace your steps.
Young people should enjoy a young person's life to the fullest while they have
the chance; but of course not to excess because any reasonable sense of justice
expects a day when a supreme being will call everyone into account. But
nevertheless; there is a lot to life that can be fully enjoyed only while we are
young. Age takes the pleasure out of many things in life that were once fresh
Take Disneyland in Los Angeles for example. Walt's park was built in the 1950's,
completed just three years before I became a teen-ager. Oh; how I yearned to go
there and ride the Jungle Cruise, a boat ride on the rivers of the world-- and
we lived in San Diego, only a measly ninety miles from Anaheim. Well, my mom and
dad never did take us; and I didn't go on my own until I got out of the Army;
but by then the thrill was gone; it was more of a curiosity than a pleasure. You know why? Because I
wasn't a kid anymore. So don't let youth slip through your fingers. Don't put
off kid things till you are older; because when you are older, kid things won't
be near as much fun nor will they be nearly as interesting either.
There was a time when I had 20-20 vision and could gaze at the stars with my
naked eyes and see them all crisp and sharp, even the really tiny ones. Then one
day I started noticing birds with four wings. Astigmatism had crept up on me and
there was nothing I could do about it except start wearing glasses.
In later years, I developed cataracts; which make it difficult to drive at night
because the headlights of oncoming cars are like looking at flares through an
oily window and make it really hard for me to see the white lines. Even in
bright daylight, cataracts prevented me from reading street signs till I was
very close and then of course too late to safely turn on the one I wanted. So
now I have artificial lenses in both eyes to go along with the artificial joints
that I already had in both knees.
Romance especially is dulled by age. When you're young, love
and romance take your breath away, you can't sleep for the excitement of it all,
and all you can think of is being with your lover. Well, when you get older,
it's not like that. And I don't mean real old either. People in only their mid
thirties and forties no longer feel the same rush any more.
As a case in point, I dated a little in high school.
Afterwards, during three years of active duty in the Army I avoided girls and
did no dating at all. After discharge, I dated a girl when I was 21 and then
completely lost interest in dating till I was 32. But guess what? That decade of
celibacy rendered me almost completely frigid. I could feel very little
chemistry with girls; they were simply people of a different gender. The only
reason I married at all is because of the aging process. One day while shaving,
as I looked in the mirror I noticed my face beginning to sag and my hair
thinning and receding. It was a wake-up call. I realized the time of life for
starting a family was rapidly slipping away where before I gave it no thought at
Life is one of those things that you cannot go back and do over. You're only
young once; and you feel the feelings of the young only once too; and that's for
a relatively brief time compared to the remainder of your life.
I was once asked, in the 6th grade, by a sadistic male school
principal who caught me acting silly in the cafeteria: "Aren't you ever going to
grow up?" I answered; "I don't want to grow up." He was immediately indignant,
and demanded to know why. I replied; "Because grown-ups are unhappy."
annoyed by my answer; but no doubt knew in his heart I was right. I never saw
that man happy. He was always irritable and upset at the students for one thing
or another and everyone feared him. You know, looking back, I don't think that
man was even 35 yet; and just look how much of the exuberance of youth he had
already lost even by the time of that relatively early age.
for Psalm 13