What Pops into my Mind?
This week, when I saw the word “fast”, I decided I would skip the FMF post. Sometimes when I see the suggested word an idea pops into my mind. The first thing I thought of for these week’s word was the NASDAQ ticker symbol “FAST” for industrial company “Fastenal Company.” I also thought about the discipline of skipping meals for a time of prayer, about something that is high-speed, and about the act of holding fast, or secure to something during times of difficulty. None of these triggered the thought, “I will write about this!”
Then came this morning’s sermon. Our pastor began a series of messages on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. The passage was Ecclesiastes 1:1-11. Two bells rang in my head.
The Main Question to Ponder
The question raised by the “Qoheleth” (the Preacher, Philosopher) in Ecclesiastes is regarding how fast the vapor of life begins and then ends with no apparent purpose. The Preacher asks, “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” (Eccl. 1:3) He asks this question after he declares everything is “vanity” or vapor. All of life is temporary and passing away. It is forever gone and soon forgotten. As our pastor asked, “What is the point?”
Many do not answer this question well. We might try escapism. It just dulls the pain. We try nihilism and say life is meaningless, tragic, and we just endure it. We might try hedonism to get temporary pleasure and do what we can to avoid pain. The question remains, “What is the point?”
Life and Wealth
The Preacher in Ecclesiastes does answer the question at the end of his book of wisdom. But most of the book examines all of the things that might bring satisfaction and meaning to life. None of them satisfy. We want to know we have more meaning and purpose than what a brief life has to offer. Jesus claimed to have the answer, and I believe his answer is the only one that makes sense. He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
The other thing that came to mind, which is related to life, is the accumulation of wealth, like owning and accumulating shares of FAST. The Qoheleth talks about wealth in his analysis (Eccl. 5:8-20). There are many ways that we try to become wealthy. In my seventy years, I have found many of the ways we might try to take shortcuts to wealth, are just fast ways to fail on a grand scale. If they work for some, then that doesn’t satisfy for long. Part of the problem is thinking that wealth is the answer, rather than realizing it is only one of many tools God puts in our care. “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” Proverbs 13:11
How to Identify a Follower of Jesus
You will know a follower of Jesus by who they love and how that love is expressed. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18
Five Minute Friday
This post is part of the weekly Five-Minute Friday link-up.
All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.