Thursday, 8 November 2007

Ecclesiastes 2:12-16

To be honest, I've struggled to write this blog. Yesterday I was really busy and didn't get around to it and today I don't feel like I have the energy. I've scribbled a few notes and I'm not sure if any of it is worth sharing. Hmmm.

I want it to be good wise stuff that will do people good but at the same time I know it might end up being a load of rubbish. My dilemma makes me think about today's passage even more. Will I be wise in my writing or will I be wasting everyone's time? Solomon asks whether it really matters anyway in the grand scheme of things...


It's worth explaining about wisdom. Solomon's not asking 'Is it better to be clever or stupid?' He's talking about insight, not intelligence. Wisdom is not so much about knowledge as how to apply it. This means everyone has a choice about whether to be wise or not because it's not about natural ability. Since wisdom is available to all, Solomon asks whether it's worth bothering with.

Is a wise life any better than a life without wisdom? In the end both lives will be over and what difference will it make anyway? The answer to this question depends hugely on our perspective and how we view our lives. There's really two outlooks in this passage: the temporary and the eternal...

The temporary outlook... If all we care about is the short life we live in this world, then Solomon tells us it's better to live a wise life than a foolish one because by being wise, we see things clearly whereas without wisdom it's like being in the dark. He's saying that in this life we're better off if we live wisely. It will help things to go well for us and for others if the choices we make are wise ones. This makes sense, but it's not enough for Solomon and it shouldn't be enough for us either.

The eternal outlook... If we care about things beyond our own short life, then choosing wisdom over foolishness matters for a little while but really has no impact on things beyond our own death and it won't help us overcome death either. Solomon realises that we must consider the eternal outlook because it shows us the limitations of our own wisdom in this life. Our own wisdom will help us make temporary wise choices but it won't be enough to help us know God or to find complete peace. It's helpful but it's not enough.

Solomon asks, 'What do I gain by being wise?' and the answers to this question are all temporary benefits. Solomon, with his eternal outlook says, 'This too is meaningless.'

So I probably shouldn't worry too much about my blog today. In the end, as Solomon says, it won't be long remembered and it certainly won't stop me or anyone else from dying! It might be helpful (and I pray that it is) but it won't be that helpful! The point is that we should have an eternal outlook like Solomon. We need to see that 'wisdom is better than folly' but it won't bring us life to the full or life forever. Only God can do that.

Spend some silent time reflecting on how wisdom is developing in your own life and what that looks like and how it is helping you and others in this life and then ask God to help you to have an eternal outlook that realises the need for a relationship with him.