A Good and Proper Way to Live

In the United States many of us are, thanks to Labor Day, enjoying a long weekend. The slight damage we suffered from Tropical Depression Ernesto was cleaned up early in the day. So, I’ve been able to rest and relax with my focus mainly on Flushing Meadows and the US Open. Tough day, huh?

Yesterday I shared a few thoughts with my church family which were prompted by the Labor Day holiday. In thinking of this I was drawn first to Solomon’s observations regarding the vicissitudes of life. He remarked: 18Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” –Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (NIV)

Well, reflecting on this passage caused me to think of a couple of specific things:

(a) Solomon’s observations all need to be heard in context. While there is much good counsel, he is looking at life “under the sun”. Basically, this speaks of mere human existence—life without God. Taken as a whole, he finds life without God to be utterly vain. He said: “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14, NIV). The thoughts that he shares in the latter part of chapter 5 are reflections on the good life, when thinking about “life under the sun”. Eat. Drink. Work. Maybe you’ll get wealthy. Just accept what you get and be happy, because that’s as good as it gets.

(b) I’m so thankful that life in Christ—life in the Son—is so much more meaningful! A ton of verses come to mind. None says it more succinctly than Ephesians 2:10. Here we are told that those who are saved by grace through faith “are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

Against this background it occurred to me that…

…nothing is anything without God.

…everything is nothing without God.

…anything and everything is something with God!

 

So, it is with great encouragement that we see that God truly has provided us with a good and proper way to live in Christ, a life full of meaning and purpose. With this in mind I believe it is appropriate for us to remember the following three important things:

(1) God has allowed us to join His work— Ephesians 4:28, “Those who have been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

(2) God has gifted us for this work— 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

(3) God will reward us for faithfulness— Colossians 3:23-24, “23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

By God’s grace and for God’s glory let us faithfully join God in the work He has allowed and gifted us to do! Though the song is an oldie, it’s still a goodie. It seems to express the sentiments suggested here:

 

To The Work! To The Work!

To the work! to the work! we are servants of God,

Let us follow the path that our Master has trod;

With the might of His power our strength to renew,

Let us do by His grace what He calls us to do.

Work for Him by His grace;

Work thru Him for His praise;

Work with Him all the days;

And work in Him in many ways.

To the work! to the work! let the hungry be fed;

To the fountain of life let the thirsty be led;

In the cross and its vict’ry our glory shall be,

While we herald the tidings, “Salvation is free!”

Work for Him by His grace;

Work thru Him for His praise;

Work with Him all the days;

And work in Him in many ways.

To the work! to the work! in the strength of the Lord,

By the pow’r of His Name, with the light of His Word,

All the slaves of the darkness of Satan set free

And His riches of grace in His glory we’ll see.

Work for Him by His grace;

Work thru Him for His praise;

Work with Him all the days;

And work in Him in many ways.

© Bill Williams

September 4, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Christianity, Life, Preaching Notes. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Good and Proper Way to Live

  1. Mag says:

    God spoke to my spirit on the Ecc. scripture: 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”

    My last tike starts k-garten tomorrow. And He promises me in this that it won’t just be a day of tears because of all the joy the day will bring. Thank you for taking the time to include scripture in your posts. I need to do that more often and get in a hurry paraphrasing concepts.

    Great thoughts here.

  2. Mark Wilson says:

    Hi Bill

    Just popping in to meet and greet.

    Bless you,
    Mark.

  3. Bill says:

    Good morning, Maggie.

    Glad you stopped by. I just read your post for today and commented there. I do want to commend you for having a very well put together blog. I’ve just been able to spend a few minutes at “Magnanimity” but have been very impressed by the quality of your work!

    Blessings to you and yours,
    -bill

  4. ksareyes says:

    Hi Bill,

    I love the syncronicity of the Holy Spirit: this week I begin a ladies’ bible study on Ecclesiastes! We’ll be studying it for an entire year. I’m sure you’ll be reading lots about it on my blog – LOL! Though I do believe Solomon was working his way, rather methocically to the same conclusions as yours – that nothing under the sun without God is………nothing.

    peace+
    kreyes

  5. Dee Andrews says:

    So, Bill – how many posts do you WRITE a day, anyway? I can’t keep up.

    For the record –

    I LOVE Ecclesiastes. One of my favorite books, which is usually the one I’ve most reently been reading. But this one really is.

    Thanks for the link to Mag’s 1st neat post of the day.

    Thanks for blogging! You make it worthwhile BIG time.

    Cheers! Dee

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