Enlightenment. We all want it. We all seek it. Getting “in the know”, knowing something before someone else does. Being the person people come to when they want to know something — the wise one. Remember, however, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. I heard someone comment that artificial intelligence or Ai, may be a source of a lot of information, but it lacks wisdom and common sense.
Since we all want it, we might as well go to the best source, right? It just so happens that we’re in the right book! Let’s dig in…
A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2 Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies—
so the living should take this to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4 A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
5 Better to be criticized by a wise person
than to be praised by a fool.
6 A fool’s laughter is quickly gone,
like thorns crackling in a fire.
This also is meaningless.
7 Extortion turns wise people into fools,
and bribes corrupt the heart.
8 Finishing is better than starting.
Patience is better than pride.
9 Control your temper,
for anger labels you a fool.
10 Don’t long for “the good old days.”
This is not wise.
11 Wisdom is even better when you have money.
Both are a benefit as you go through life.
12 Wisdom and money can get you almost anything,
but only wisdom can save your life.
13 Accept the way God does things,
for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14 Enjoy prosperity while you can,
but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.
Remember that nothing is certain in this life.
Right now, there’s a volcano erupting in a small island off the coast of Africa, La Palma. It’s one of the Canary Islands which belong to Spain. It’s been spewing lava for a week now and it’s destroyed over 500 buildings — homes and businesses, including a church or two. I heard one person exclaim as a really nice house was being swallowed up by the lava flow, “You work all your life for this!” This volcano, like many other natural disasters are equal-opportunity destroyers. Rich or poor, both have lost homes and livelihoods in just a few days. Here’s the link to the La Palma videos on YouTube.
The Limits of Human Wisdom
15 I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. 16 So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? 17 On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? 18 Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes.
19 One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!
20 Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
21 Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you. 22 For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.
23 I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work. 24 Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find. 25 I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.
26 I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.
27 “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle. 28 Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman! 29 But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”Ecclesiastes 7 NLT
Points to Ponder
- Reputation – It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation and with today’s social media, it can be lost in a second. A perfume’s fragrance will fade away. A good, solid reputation, if you don’t screw it up, will last until you die.
- At your funeral, your works tell your story. They are the lessons of life and death. (BTW, works don’t get you saved – Grace does.) Recently, I attended 2 funerals. My cousin died — his heart just stopped. He was a lapsed Catholic. 5 days after his death a colleague of mine died — same thing — heart just stopped. My cousin was 67, my colleague 76. My cousin’s funeral was in Puerto Rico. I couldn’t attend, so I watched via Facebook. His son had his phone about 2 pews up on the center aisle. The priest walks to the microphone a good 20 feet away, wearing a mask and starts to speak in Spanish. Now, I understand and speak Spanish fluently, but I could not hear him at all. There was no one within 20 feet of him. Why did he have to wear the mask? My cousin’s daughter got up next — at least I think it was her — hard to tell with the mask on. Same thing — goes to the mic and starts speaking with the mask on. No one within 10 feet of her. It was sad, just plain sad. There was nothing to be joyous about.
The following week, I attended, in person, the “Celebration of Life” service for my colleague. That was a joyous time. He was a born again Christian. We know that the moment he died, he was with Jesus. His wife, daughters and family were sure that they would see him again when they die or are raptured — whichever comes first.
Though both men were “good men”, who helped a lot of people in their own ways, and they both had good reputations. I am only assured that one of them is in heaven right now.
So, yes, you do learn a lot about people at their funerals. At their births, you can only vow to help the child grow up knowing who Jesus Christ is, guiding him or her in the right direction.
- What makes fools foolish?
- It’s foolish to live in the past. Nostalgia is fun for some people, but may bring harsh memories for others. Learn from history so you don’t repeat it! Enjoy nostalgia, but don’t obsess over it. Live for today and find the beauty in your world.
- Righteousness means being right with God. That includes…
- Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines — mistresses. All that free sex didn’t allow him to respect women.
- Life is a wild goose chase without the goose.
- Rather than us going up to God, God came down to us.
Ecclesiastes is the Bible’s philosophy book. It’s God’s wisdom for life. This one paired with Proverbs and the Book of James, provide you with all the Godly Wisdom you need. Nevertheless, you still must have the Holy Spirit to convict you. That is, to guide you and keep you on the straight and narrow — the right path of, you guessed it, righteousness! (Related: Do you have a Secular Worldview or a Biblical Worldview?)
So, as James, Jesus’ brother wrote…
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.James 1:5-6 NLT
Where is YOUR Faith?
It needs to be in JESUS!
What are you waiting for?! Let HIM in already!