Purpose. Everyone in life is looking for purpose. We are searching, whether we realize it or not, for why we are here. Are we here to work a job until we die. Are we here to raise a family, make money, sell stuff, buy stuff, do charity work, help others, help ourselves, travel, and the list could go on and on. But no matter what people "do" in this life the bottom line is that they are on a quest for purpose. This last week we have read over and again how so many of our pursuits are meaningless in and of themselves. Today however we get to the answer. We find in today's reading meaning and purpose for life.I want to start today's post with a little trivia. 1st - Can you name the oldest song lyrics ever to make it to #1 on the pop music charts?
2nd - Who and in what year did it get written and when was it number 1?
Well you will probably guess soon enough as you read through today's post but in 1965 The Byrds released a song titled "Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season) Which you can listen to below:
But these two questions are really trick questions to a point. We don't really know the exact date that they were written. This song has an interesting history though. It was actually written as a song in the late 50's by Peter Seeger but it has the oldest lyrics of any #1 hit song, dating back to today's reading in Ecclesiastes. Which if King Solomon wrote them, means these lyrics are somewhere in the ballpark of being 3000 years old. (Solomon was born in 1011 B.C.) Seeger first recorded it in 1962 but it was later adapted by The Byrds and released in 1965 at a time of great turmoil in our country. The song was a hit and catapulted to #1.
Every single lyric except for 6 words in this song is from scripture. Of the 14 lines starting with "a time to.." 12 of them are used in the song. This is all very interesting fine and well but the point that is being made in this section of scripture is much more than a catchy tune from the 60's.
Purpose cannot be found in this list of contrasting ideas but this list represents all the different things we as humans face in our lifetime. Some at more times than others but life is not promised to be all roses all the time. Scripture goes on to say that God has made EVERYTHING (emphasis mine) beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to end.
God has never lost control of what is happening on earth. We may be facing difficult times and we may be confused about what seems to be happening in our world but God is not sitting around somewhere in Heaven getting a report about what is happening on earth and falling out of his chair in shock. God has a proper time for every event, but we naturally want to see the whole picture and see every facet and detail of our lives now. WE want God to answer to us and lay it all out before us, the whole plan for our lives. But God is asking us to trust him and to follow him in this journey we call life. That is why we often call it a journey.
I am not sure where you are at right now but everything has a season in life. There are going to be seasons where things might be difficult. This may be becuase of the decisions we are making and the consequences that come from them or they may be because of the decisions of others and the implications that they have on us. Likewise you may be in some of the best times of your life for those same exact reasons. Either way there is a season for everything. And just like harvest coming every fall and spring after every winter, history does repeat itself. We may choose to throw away the lessons of history but God will not ignore them. He will confront them every time; over and over if he has to. At the end of the day we have no grounds or basis for complaining that God did not warn us about calling the past into account. His word is very clear.
The real hope of today's reading is in the final few verses of today and the final verses of the book of Ecclesiastes.
13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Eccl 12:13-14)
At the end of the day the purpose that we can find in this life, this journey resides completely in God and his Son Jesus Christ, whom he sent to die on our behalf so that we could have restored relationship with God the Father. God will bring all things into judgement so that there is no need to worry that the wicked get off scott free and it is also a reminder that the same is true for us. It is only by the covering of Christ's blood that we can be saved.
And when we put our trust in Christ, and I mean REALLY put our trust in Christ, our natural inclination is to follow, trust, and be obedient to what he has called us to. To love and honor him, to fear Him as we are told not only here in Ecclesiastes but all throughout the Bible. (reference a previous blog I wrote on Fearing the Lord here)
I want to leave you with a quote from the Expositors Bibe commentary on this passage. Something that I believe will challenge you and give you a question we should all ask ourselves.
"The Believer must ask, "Lord what would you have me do now? I know my life has an eternal purpose, and I desire to understand how all things work together for good. But I realize that I am not as you and cannot say just why such-and-such a thing has come to me." (J. Stafford Wright, p 1162)
When we put our trust in Him and lean on his understanding, not ours, we begin to find peace in all situations and see our faith growing in every season of life. To everything Turn Turn Turn ... To Christ